It's time to legalize and tax marijuana
By Jim Corder, The Daily News
Re: 'Nanaimo needs supervised drug site, says researcher' (Daily News, July 27)
While the benefits of supervised drug sites are understandable, I think they are a band-aid on a larger problem and our members of Parliament need to reassess a "war on drugs" that is being lost.
At least one battle in the drug war could be won by legalizing marijuana and handling it in the same way as alcohol, including taxing it. The resulting funds could provide excellent education and rehabilitation facilities.
Police resources could be focused on the hard drug trade rather than the grow-ops they'll never eradicate. But eventually, we'll also need a similar solution to hard drugs.
We wouldn't be the first country to look at more sensible drug laws. Last year Mexico decriminalized the possession of small amounts of illicit drugs in an effort to cut into demand by treating addicts as treatment clients -- not criminals. Argentina no longer punishes private use of pot as long as it doesn't harm anyone else and a Brazilian appeals court has ruled that possession of drugs for personal use is not illegal. Portugal adopted Europe's most liberal drug laws in 2001, which has been successful in reducing the spread of HIV and exposure to drugs amongst teenagers.
One of our problems with minority governments in Ottawa is that no one dares to suggest more modern drug laws because it risks partisan persecution from the other parties.
I think they would all be surprised at how many recreational pot smokers we have and how many would favour liberalized drug laws. Perhaps it would make a good question on those long census forms currently the subject of bickering, and may even create a huge "voluntary" response if Stats-Can is as protective of info as claimed.