For some time, I have believed that the only logical way of dealing with marijuana is to legalize possession for personal use. I don't think marijuana is harmless, but neither is alcohol or tobacco. The cost of trying to enforce the current laws greatly exceeds any possible benefit resulting from seeking to prevent people from using this drug. Huge amounts of public police and court funding are wasted in the futile effort to enforce the law. A great deal of lucrative criminal activity occurs as a result of the current situation and disrespect for the law results from the belief by many people that the law is wrong.
Distribution should be through government drug stores, and quality should be strictly controlled to prevent distribution of overly strong or chemically tainted product. The government would be able to charge a substantial tax and/or profit and still charge much less than current prices.
The great stumbling block to legalization has always been the United States. If Canada legalized and the U.S. didn't, they would be likely to impose much stricter border controls, which would damage our business interests. Since Washington State has voted to legalize marijuana, that concern no longer exists. As far as I am concerned, possession of marijuana for personal use should be legalized as quickly as possible, and I call upon the federal government to do so without delay.
Garth Evans, Burnaby
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