Letters: Regulate pot market

A policy analyst expounds on proposal by Sensible BC

There is a big difference between condoning marijuana use and protecting children from drugs. Decriminalization as proposed by “Sensible B.C.” acknowledges the social reality of marijuana and frees users from criminal records. That’s a step in the right direction. What’s really needed is a legally regulated market with age controls.

Separating the hard and soft drug markets is critical. As long as organized crime controls marijuana distribution, consumers will come into contact with sellers of hard drugs like cocaine, meth and heroin. This “gateway” is a direct result of marijuana prohibition.

Marijuana is less harmful than legal alcohol. The plant has never been shown to cause an overdose death. It makes no sense to waste tax dollars on failed marijuana policies that finance organized crime and facilitate the use of hard drugs. Taxing and regulating marijuana may send the wrong message to children, but I like to think the children are more important than the message.

Robert Sharpe, MPA

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, DC