Letters: Prohibition ineffective

Metchosin resident takes a stance on legally regulating marijuana

RCMP Cpl. Scott Hilderley either misunderstands or deliberately mischaracterized the case for legally regulating cannabis. (“Don’t let evil triumph,” Letters, Jan 18).

No one is suggesting we give up on trying to prevent minors from

consuming cannabis.  We haven’t abandoned our efforts to prevent young people from smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol, and in fact we have done remarkably well in that regard. Teens today are more likely to have tried cannabis than tobacco, and they consistently report that cannabis is easier to obtain than beer.

Adults who are interested in obtaining cannabis, for medicinal purposes, would be well-advised to approach an adolescent relative or acquaintance.Cpl. Hilderley tells us that he knows for a fact that the war on cannabis is working because many young people in Sooke choose to abstain. According to the Supreme Court of Canada, cannabis usage rates rise and fall with no statistical relationship to cannabis laws and their enforcement.

Not only is cannabis prohibition an ineffectual waste of criminal justice resources, it makes education, prevention, treatment and harm reduction much more difficult, if not impossible. Drug prohibitions drive a wedge between parents and their children, teachers and students, doctors and patients, and the police and their communities.

We have abdicated control to criminals, many quite young, who sell all sorts of tax-free drugs of unknown provenance, purity and potency, on commission, to anyone of any age, anytime, anywhere, no questions asked. We have more control over cat food than we do the so-called “controlled drugs and substances.”

Cpl. Hilderley should check out Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, (http://leap.cc/), an international group of current and former judges, prosecutors and police officers who have learned the hard way that, as evil as drug abuse can be, the war on drugs causes far more harm than it could possibly prevent.

Matthew M. Elrod

Metchosin