Pubdate: Fri, 20 Jan 2012
Source: Coquitlam Now, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2012Lower Mainland Publishing Group, Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Re: "This is the sensible approach to take," editorial, Friday, Jan. 13.

Lost in the debate over marijuana is the ugly truth behind marijuana 

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

Washington, DC 
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