Pubdate: Sat, 30 Aug 2014
Source: Chatham Daily News, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2014 Chatham Daily News
Author: Robert Sharpe
Page: 6


Re: Brian MacLeod's thoughtful Aug. 21 column.

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 migration 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 
yellow journalism of William Randolph Hearst led to its 
criminalization in the U.S.

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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