Pot shots at the criminalization of a soft drug: Shanoff

Drug cartels, criminals, police chiefs, alcohol manufacturers and retailers, prison employees and big pharma, can now sleep easier.

California’s Proposition 19 was defeated last week 54% to 46%. Marijuana prohibition remains in force in California. Recreational possession and use of pot remains illegal in North America.

But don’t let your guard down. Keep lobbying against lifting pot prohibition because sooner or later people are going to come to their senses and accept that prohibition has been an abject failure.

All it’s managed to do is push up the price of pot and give a near monopoly to drug cartels, resulting in higher profits for criminals and increased violence when dealers try to protect their turf.

At the same time we’ve made criminals out of recreational pot users.

In spite of billions of dollars spent enforcing prohibition, pot is almost as available as liquor products. Perhaps even moreso since minors can purchase pot more readily than they can purchase alcohol products.

I’m not in favour of or advocating pot use, just common sense.

When judges, retired police chiefs, scientists and economists tell us prohibition doesn’t work and is a colossal waste of money, isn’t it time to at least debate the subject intelligently using evidence based facts rather than scaremongering reefer madness arguments?

Even the Globe and Mail has recently advocated a search for something better than the current war on drugs.

The number of myths surrounding marijuana is staggering.

It is a gateway drug. It causes mental illness. It is more dangerous than tobacco. It is highly addictive. It kills brain cells. All myths that can be debunked.

But it is no myth that alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana. The Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs in England recently rated marijuana with a harm score of 20 compared with alcohol at 72.

Might legalization increase marijuana usage? Perhaps in the short term, but we’re told marijuana is more widely used in North American than it is in the Netherlands where it is legally available in government-run shops.

Would more teens experiment with marijuana if it were legal? Perhaps, but with the easy availability of it, any teen who wants to experiment can already do so.

We already know marijuana has medical uses — indeed some components of pot may have anti-tumor effects — and we allow its compassionate medical use to help alleviate chronic pain, nausea and side effects of chemotherapy. We do so grudgingly in Canada where it can take three to six months and sometimes longer to get a one year permit, even though the use of pot can reduce the need to take other, more expensive drugs.

Is there any rational reason to criminalize recreational pot use when we don’t criminalize alcohol use? If the only reason is alcohol is already legal, then remember marijuana was legal in Canada until 1923 and alcohol use was illegal in the U.S. between 1920 and 1933.

Don’t take my word on the need for drug reform. Take the word of the authors of the 2002 Report Of The Senate Special Committee On Illegal Drugs:

Thirty years ago, the Le Dain Commission released its report on cannabis. This Commission had far greater resources than we did. However, we had the benefit of Le Dain’s work, a much more highly developed knowledge base since then and of 30 years’ historical perspective.

The Commission concluded the criminalization of cannabis had no scientific basis. Thirty years later, we confirm this conclusion and add that continued criminalization of cannabis remains unjustified based on scientific data on the danger it poses.

Instead, Canada is poised to pass Bill S-10 which would allow a minimum sentence of six to nine months for anyone caught growing six or more marijuana plants. Wonderful.

Source: Toronto Sun

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