Pubdate: Sat, 04 Aug 2007
Source: Chronicle Herald (CN NS)
Copyright: 2007 The Halifax Herald Limited
Author: Donald MacDonald


I have seen the arguments Dan Leger makes before, but never before 
put together, at once, so thoroughly and concisely. I would say he is 
altogether right.

Notable is his pointing out that the purpose of much of the police 
support for the marijuana laws is "to boost job prospects for police 
officers." It is also certainly true, as he points out, that among 
those most opposed to the government's taking over this trade are 
"professional dealers and biker gangs."

American "drug paranoia" is certainly a factor in our continuing to 
wage our version of their "war on drugs." But, especially in the U. 
S., there is, along with the police, the nation-spanning constituency 
drawing its livelihood from involvement in imprisonment. That has 
become a sizable private industry there - as it well may be here if 
the Reform/Alliance/tough-on-crime crowd that still forms a hard core 
of the "Conservative" party has its way. (This faction is to some 
extent staying out of sight now, but if Mr. Harper ever gets a 
majority, I expect they will quickly come to the forefront in Parliament.)

In any case, part of any successful approach to this issue would 
involve waking up to the fact that the drug problem is basically a 
demand problem and not a supply problem.

As Mr. Leger recommends, the only way to deal with the demand is to 
selectively cater to it while we also seek, more through intelligence 
than force, to control and eliminate its more dangerous forms. What 
we are doing is not working, so why not?

Donald MacDonald, Sydney
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