Let's Admit the Drug Law is a Bad Trip

Let's Admit the Drug Law is a Bad Trip
Posted by FoM on April 04, 2000 at 10:50:22 PT
By Donna Laframboise
Source: National Post 
It didn't make headlines elsewhere, but something important happened this past Saturday. The National Post ran a lead editorial titled "Time to legalize pot." The reason this is significant is because it means yet another mainstream, respectable voice has joined the growing chorus of institutions and individuals that believe our drug laws are nonsensical. 
While the editorial positions of the Post and, say, the Toronto Star, are frequently miles apart, on this issue both newspapers are in agreement. While the Ottawa Citizen and the Globe and Mail adopt rather different stances on many matters they, too, believe the war on drugs does more harm than good. Last month it was the turn of the Economist, the British business magazine, to run a cover story and a lead editorial demonstrating why the war on drugs (as it is unfolding in Third World countries with U.S.-funded military assistance) is counterproductive and ill-conceived. Making passing reference to the U.S. during the Vietnam era, the magazine declares that the drug war "will not be won with helicopters." Decriminalization, says the Economist, must be seriously considered. In early 1996, the National Review, which bills itself as "America's conservative magazine," devoted much of one edition to the theme: 'The War on Drugs is Lost.' "It is our judgment that the war on drugs has failed," wrote its editors. "We all agree on movement toward legalization, even though we may differ on just how far." Nor is this tidal wave of opinion building only among the media. From police chiefs, to health care workers, to lawyers' groups, to coroners, an ever-growing consensus of prominent, responsible voices believe there are more important matters on which police and court time should be spent than chasing down illicit drugs. This is especially the case since most criminal charges involve marijuana -- a substance demonstrably less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco. Those dealing first hand with heroin overdoses on the West Coast have been arguing for years that treating addicts like criminals rather than like patients desperately in need of health care is the wrong approach. But while law enforcement funds continue to be squandered on drug arrests, funding for methadone clinics is often shamefully inadequate. Then there are the sick and the dying, the AIDS and cancer patients. Someone in my own family falls into this category at the moment. Suffering from wrenching nausea and in need of having her appetite stimulated, her doctors' hands are nevertheless tied. The only legal medication capable of subduing her vomiting also happens to be a powerful anti-psychotic drug. Its side effects are harrowing: She's left anxious and in need of sedatives that, in turn, cloud her mind. It isn't possible to know, for certain, whether matters would be less distressing for our family if she could be treated with small amounts of legal, quality-controlled marijuana. But it makes me angry that we live in a society where this option is out of the question for no good reason. Even if one agrees with the Post's editorial board that "the world would be a better place" without the recreational use of marijuana, (personally I might choose to keep marijuana over alcohol), most sensible people acknowledge that the decades-long war against illicit drugs has established one thing: These substances cannot be wished away. Not only are illicit drugs available in every city in this country, the more telling fact is that they are readily available in our prisons. If armed guards, stone walls, barbed wire, steel bars, locked doors and body searches can't keep drugs out of our prison system what would lead us to imagine that we can eliminate them from society at large? In recent years, many of our politicians, including Kim Campbell, Jean Charest, Gilles Duceppe and Alexa McDonough have admitted to smoking marijuana. A number of senators and MPs have publicly supported its decriminalization. Canadian Alliance MP Keith Martin, an emergency room physician, has a private members' bill before the House of Commons that would decriminalize pot. A similar situation exists south of the border, with several U.S. states, media outlets and politicians demanding change. The time to act, to stop this foolishness, is surely now.Published: Tuesday, April 04, 2000Copyright  Southam Inc. Related Article:Time to Legalize Pot
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #1 posted by kanabys on April 05, 2000 at 08:29:44 PT
I have one thing to say to this reporter; I AGREE!!! Keep up the good work.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: