Pubdate: Wed, 27 Apr 2016
Source: National Post (Canada)
Copyright: 2016 Canwest Publishing Inc.
Author: Craig Jones
Page: A7


Re: Gangs Threaten Liberal Proposal, April 25.

Had we legalized cannabis when the Le Dain commission opened the door,
we could have got ahead of the organized crime problem. But as every
parent learns, the longer you delay dealing with a problem, the more
intractable it becomes.

There's an obvious solution where cannabis is concerned: permit home
growing. For one thing, it's going to happen any way because the plant
thrives anywhere south of the treeline, and enforcing a ban on home
growing would be intrusive and costly - and no more effective than
prohibition itself.

NORML Canada has long endorsed the legalization of cannabis precisely
because prohibition enriched and empowered organized crime, so we are
declaring victory with last week's announcement by Health Minister
Jane Phillpot at the United Nations.

The challenge will consist in getting the retail price below the black
market price - but no price will be lower than the backyard garden or
basement production price. Those are the inexorable laws of economics
and even the best regulatory regime cannot repeal them. We may be
surprised, however, to discover with the legalization of cannabis we
see a decline in demand for harder drugs. That would be - from a
public health standpoint - a step forward.

Craig Jones, executive director, National Organization for the Reform
of Marijuana Laws in Canada, Kingston, Ont.
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