Pubdate: Wed, 27 Aug 2014
Source: Standard Freeholder (Cornwall, CN ON)
Copyright: 2014 Robert Sharpe
Author: Robert Sharpe


Re: "Clear the smoke and regulate pot like booze," Aug. 21, 2014.

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 migration during the early 1900s. Writing under the pen name
Janey Canuck, Emily Murphy warned Canadians about the dreaded reefer
and its association with non-white immigrants.

The 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 begin to
smoke marijuana in significant numbers until after government
bureaucracies began funding reefer madness junk science.

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 criminal records. What's really needed is a regulated
market with age controls.

As long as organized crime controls marijuana distribution, consumers
will come into contact with hard drugs like cocaine, meth and heroin.
Marijuana prohibition is a gateway drug policy.

Marijuana law reform may send the wrong message to children, but I
like to think the children are more important than the message.

Robert Sharpe, policy analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, DC
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