Pubdate: Wed, 11 Jun 1997
Source: Toronto Star (Canada)
Author: Carey Ker

Re: Say no to drug legalization (Opinion page, June 3)

Philip and Neil Seeman appear to be guilty of rash
generalizations in their tome against the legalization of

They make a number of factual inaccuracies on their
way to concluding that "...the state has a moral duty to
regulate [the drug-taker's] activity under criminal law."

For instance they state that the greater
availability of drugs is  "... positively, and
irrefutably, related to higher usage,"  without providing
any factual context.

In the Netherlands, where cannabis enjoys a quasi-legal
status and is certainly much more freely available than in
Canada, the Trimbos-institute (Netherlands Institute of
Mental Health and Addiction)  estimates that 4.6% of the
population of 12 years and older regularly use marijuana
versus an estimated 10% of Canadians.

While it would be wrong to fully ascribe the lower Dutch
cannabis usage rates to freely available cannabis, one
cannot deny that it does play a role.

Canadians do support a more compassionate approach to the
application of our drug laws. Health Canada's own surveys
indicate that nearly 70% of Canadians would support
decriminalized or legalized marijuana.

Seeman and Seeman seem to support a status quo whereby 10%
of Canadians are deemed to be criminals for simply choosing
to smoke a plant. Would the solution to drug usage be to
incarcerate these 3 million Canadians?

Carey Ker