Pubdate: Sat, 18 Dec 1999
Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Copyright: 1999, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Contact:  #250, 4990-92 Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, T6B 3A1 Canada
Fax: (780) 468-0139
Author: Matthew M. Elrod
Comment: Parenthetical remark by the Sun editor; headline by author


RE: EDITORIAL "Let's try it first." You pledged that if, after a few
years, fining teens caught smoking in public proves to be ineffective,
you will be the first to call for repeal. Unfortunately, ineffective
drug laws are not so easily abandoned.

A majority of Canadians think cannabis should be decriminalized.
Everyone, including the editorial staff of many Canadian newspapers,
knows that cannabis prohibition is spectacularly ineffective.  Every
major study of cannabis prohibition, before and since the Le Dain
Commission, has called for its repeal. Yet we continue to wage a war
on adult cannabis users because relenting would "send the wrong
message to kids."

As always, not only will this latest attempt to legislate morality and
healthy living be ineffective, it will make matters worse. The police
will selectively enforce the law against minorities and teens with an
adventurous sense of fashion. The message it will send to kids is the
same message cannabis prohibition sends: "Disrespect drug laws, fear
the police, never discuss your drug problems with adults and smoke out
of sight or indoors."

Matthew M. Elrod

(Cannabis can stunt a youth's educational progress. It should remain
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