Pubdate: Tue, 06 Nov 2012
Source: Nanaimo Daily News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2012 Nanaimo Daily News
Author: Matthew M. Elrod


Given that Nanaimo Mayor John Ruttan cannot imagine refraining from
criminalizing cannabis consumers, young and old, casual or chronic,
unless he becomes "really able to believe" that cannabis is not
"harmful in any way," one wonders what other potentially harmful
substances and recreational pastimes he would attempt to suppress with
our overburdened criminal justice system. Television? Junk food? Sports?

The question before us is not whether or not cannabis should exist,
but rather, what is the optimal (not utopian) regulatory model for
mitigating the relatively insignificant harms cannabis causes.
Abdicating control of the market to criminals and teenagers makes
matters worse.

As for Conservative MP James Lunney's prediction that cannabis law 
reform would "impossibly tangle up Canadian goods at U.S. border putting 
tens of thousands of jobs at risk," I strongly recommend he read the 
nonpartisan Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs report of 2002, 
Cannabis: Our Position for a Canadian Public Policy.

Indeed, it should be required reading for every MP.

The senate committee, chaired by conservative Claude Nolin,
exhaustively addressed trade and border crossing issues, among many
other common concerns. The U.S. is not about to put tens of thousands
of jobs at risk on both sides of the border over our adopting slightly
less draconian cannabis policies.

Over a dozen U.S. states, some on our border, have already
decriminalized cannabis. Alaskans may legally possess a quarter pound
and grow up to 25 plants for personal use.

A few states are on the verge of legally regulating the industry, and
the Canadian government does not appear to be preparing to shut down
the border in response. On the contrary, last spring the Harper
government laid off 25 per cent of our border drug-sniffing dogs.

Matthew M. Elrod

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MAP posted-by: Matt