Pubdate: Fri, 8 Jan 2010
Source: Simcoe Reformer, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2010 Sun Media
Author: Robert Sharpe


Re: Shedding some light on Canada's pot laws, Dec. 18

When it comes to drugs, mandatory minimum prison sentences are proven
failures. If harsh sentences deterred illicit drug use, Canada's
southern neighbour would be a "drug-free" America. That's not the
case. The U.S. drug war has done little other than give the land of
the free the highest incarceration rate in the world. Marijuana
prohibition in particular has failed miserably. The U.S. has higher
rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where marijuana is
legally available to adults over 18.

The Canadian Senate got it right in 2002 when the Senate Special
Committee on Illegal Drugs concluded that marijuana is relatively
benign, marijuana prohibition contributes to organized crime, and law
enforcement efforts have little impact on patterns of use. In the
words of Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, "Scientific evidence
overwhelmingly indicates that cannabis is substantially less harmful
than alcohol and should be treated not as a criminal issue but as a
social and public health issue."

Robert Sharpe, MPA

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, DC 
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