Pubdate: Wed, 11 Mar 2009
Source: North Shore News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 North Shore News
Author: Al Hansell


Dear Editor:

What an interesting (though poorly written) column by the Judicial
Gadfly about drug use (Drug Legalization Lobby Lacks Business Plan,
North Shore News, Mar. 4). I disagree with him, of course, but I'm
sure he must be right: He was, after all, a lawyer and a judge with
all the famous insights of that profession into anti-social behaviour;
whereas I was a mere regional director of corrections and -- way back
in the mists of time -- a probation officer.

I must have been fortunate for, throughout my career, I met hardly any
"false prophets." They must have existed in large numbers, however,
because they merit no less than three mentions in Wallace Craig's column.

In fact, my caseloads must have been entirely atypical in that,
although the majority of my offenders were past (and present) users,
they were rather pathetic and inadequate individuals. I retired from
that job after some twenty-seven years without ever having met a
drug-crazed, psychosocial (whatever that is) parasitical citizen --
other than lawyers, of course.

Like professor Boyd, perched (in Mr. Craig's deathless prose) "in the
surreal world of academia," I believe that the current drug laws are
not only ineffective, but actually support the status quo of violence
and associated criminal acts. If, heaven forbid, Mr. Craig were a drug
crazed parasite, engaged solely in his own pleasure and presumably in
his own self-interest, would he prefer to deal with dangerous people
in dangerous situations, when he could go to his local pharmacy and
buy (on prescription, for the cost of production plus the usual market
mark-up) his drug of choice?

As for the notion that such a policy would turn non-users into rabid
addicts, the proposition has only to be stated to see the absurdity of

Now, any anti-social behaviour arising from drug use must be dealt
with, in the same way that offences arising from alcohol are dealt
with now.

Finally, what of gangs and gang-violence? If the whole rationale of
drug profiteering were undercut, much of the basis for the existence
of gangs and turf wars would no longer exist. Unfortunately, this
would not mean the demise of gangs nor of violence; some individuals
will always be attracted to the "cops and robbers" style of life, and
there are individuals who are violent, simply for the sake of being
violent. Removing the illegality of drug possession, however, is
unlikely to exacerbate the situation. Indeed, it may undercut it.

But then, unlike Mr. Craig, what do I know?

Al Hansell

North Vancouver
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