I got this posted from Ircspys(and Torrentspy ) favorite pothead Scienott.
Original article here
The use of cannabis is widespread and there is intermittent talk from the government of Canada regarding "decriminalizing," but not about legalizing, it. Cannabis has much in common with both alcohol and tobacco products. Each at various times has been demonized, banned, criminalized and targeted as a health risk. We can learn from these experiences.
What can we learn from alcohol?
First, banning doesn't work. As attempts at prohibition proves, it turns this area of the economy over to criminals and gives ordinary citizens criminal records.
Second, although there are definite health hazards for some, there are also putative benefits and people for millennia have ignored any claimed risks. Accordingly, we have decided that such a large group has a right to make its own decision.
Third, the system the Liquor Control Board of Ontario uses to control alcohol distribution is effective. Alcohol is available to adults, its purity is assured, there is a minimal black market and the province gets considerable revenue.
We also know there is a downside to alcohol and assistance is given to problem drinkers. There are protections against drunk drivers, for example. Controlled distribution is an effective compromise for this product.
What can we learn from tobacco products?
All the evidence from the last 30 years indicates that tobacco is dangerous for the health of both smokers and anyone who regularly inhales second-hand smoke. Despite these risks, some will still smoke and we have decided adults have the right to make their own decisions.
Accordingly, tobacco products remain legal for adults. Tobacco products are also extremely addictive, so we put many controls on them. Smoking in public places has been restricted, tobacco products are taxed heavily to reduce the demand and promotion has been virtually eliminated in an effort to reduce the number of new smokers, especially among the young.
We are reaching an effective compromise that protects smokers, non-smokers, and minors
(Note from Arm: Ha ha ha yeah right, protect minors.
What lessons can we draw from these experiences for cannabis? Concerning health, as far back as 1972 the LeDain Royal Commission on the Non-Medical Use of Drugs reported that "the physical and mental effects of cannabis would appear to be much less serious than those which may result from excessive use of alcohol."
This statement appears true 30 years later. More recently, there are claimed health benefits, especially to some who suffer from certain illnesses. All in all, this is a situation that calls for personal choice, but with appropriate controls.
So what should be the preferred path?
First, the federal government should make the use of cannabis products legal: Decriminalization is not sufficient.
Second, a safe, regulated supply should be made available, perhaps through a CCBO or Cannabis Control Board of Ontario.
These steps would guarantee product purity, take criminals out of this area of the economy, provide tax revenues, allow police to concentrate on more serious crime and stop the harassment of ordinary citizens.
Existing R.I.D.E. programs can be used to help control irresponsible drivers, and the use of designated drivers can be adopted from our experience with alcohol.
One of the major benefits will be to reduce the availability of pot to minors. If this seems counterintuitive, just ask any teenager which is more available to them, alcohol or cannabis? Drug dealers don't ask for proof-of-age.
Cannabis use is so pervasive that its use may go almost unnoticed if it were legalized. It will have benefits all around, not the least of which will be the capture of money that now goes to criminals.
Naturally, moralists will object to this "sin" being legalized and wish to impose their beliefs on others. Surely, we can overcome this attitude in modern Canada.
The other issue is the reaction of the United States, whose absurd, counterproductive "war on drugs" is opposed to any tolerance for recreational drugs. Controlled distribution in Canada should minimize the amount of legal cannabis that goes to the U.S., as it does with alcohol. Perhaps, in time, Americans will learn from our experience and soften their attitude.
Most arguments against cannabis legalization are moralistic, whereas the arguments in favour are pragmatic and would help to protect minors, users, and society.
The time has come to legalize cannabis!