Pubdate: Wed, 25 Aug 2010
Source: Quesnel Cariboo Observer (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 Robert Sharpe
Author: Robert Sharpe



Re: The raw and ugly side of life, Observer, Aug. 19.

Lost in the debate over marijuana is the ugly truth behind marijuana
prohibition. North America's marijuana laws are based on culture and
xenophobia, not science.

The first marijuana laws were a racist reaction to Mexican immigration
during the early 1900s. Writing under the pen name Janey Canuck, Emily
Murphy warned Canadians about the dread reefer and its association
with non-white immigrants.

The sensationalist yellow journalism of William Randolph Hearst led to
its criminalization in the United States.

Dire warnings that marijuana inspires homicidal rages have been
counterproductive at best. White North Americans did not even begin to
smoke marijuana until a soon-to-be entrenched government bureaucracy
began funding reefer madness propaganda.

When threatened, the drug war gravy train predictably decries the
"message" that drug policy reform sends to children. There is a big
difference between condoning marijuana use and protecting children
from drugs.

Decriminalization acknowledges the social reality of marijuana and
frees users from the stigma of criminal records. What's really needed
is a regulated market with age controls.

As long as organized crime controls marijuana distribution, consumers
will continue to come into contact with addictive drugs like cocaine
and heroin.

This "gateway" is a direct result of marijuana prohibition. Drug
policy reform may send the wrong message to children, but I like to
think the children are more important than the message.

Robert Sharpe, MPA

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

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