Pubdate: Sat, 05 Feb 2011
Source: Edmonton Journal (CN AB)
Copyright: 2011 The Edmonton Journal
Author: Bill Middagh


Re: "Build families, not prisons to reduce crime," by Jim Hackler, 
Letters, Jan. 30.

I would like to see fewer prisons built as well, but I propose a
different method that would empty our prisons, reduce our policing
costs and, if the experience with marijuana in the Netherlands is a
guide, reduce drug usage.

My solution is to decriminalize all recreational drugs. Most of the
violence in our city revolves around the drug trade. Legalizing drugs
would put most of the gangs out of business.

The insistence on making drugs illegal is mainly a moral issue. Laws
should be concerned with the safety of our citizens, not our morals.

The threat of prison is not preventing people from trying drugs.
Education is a better tool. The combination of education on the
hazards of drug use coupled with the elimination of the profit motive
for the gangs to pressure people to try them will reduce the number of
people who become addicted.

If they don't try them, they cannot become addicted.

For proof of my hypothesis, check out the experience with marijuana in
the Netherlands and compare it with Canada. Far more young people try
pot in Canada, where it is illegal, than in the Netherlands where it
can be smoked legally in coffee shops.

Bill Middagh, Edmonton
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