FOULDS: A question for prohibitionists: If pot illegal, why not alcohol?
Those who wish to retain the status quo, who wish to retain the abysmal failure that is the war on drugs (and, in particular, marijuana) have pointed to the Canada/U.S. dilemma.
That is, prohibition proponents — in reacting to last week’s Union of B.C. Municipalities resolution to pressure the federal government to decriminalize pot — are quick to note the U.S. will not follow suit if Canada does decriminalize marijuana.
Therefore, argue the prohibitionists, gangsters in Canada will still make obscene amounts of money and violence will still rage as they continue to try to get B.C. bud south of the border.
But, that’s what is happening now.
If marijuana was decriminalized in Canada, that may continue — but many positives would emerge.
Decriminalization would at least stop making criminals out of law-abiding Canadian citizens for having the audacity to enjoy smoking a joint.
The fact that it is deemed illegal for one to smoke a joint, yet deemed legal for one to smoke a cigarette or drink a beer or pop a pill, is ludicrous.
Decriminalization would at least lessen the burden placed on police departments, who spend far too much time and far too much money enforcing a law that is as nonsensical as prohibition of alcohol was in the 1920s.
Decriminalization would at least give government the opportunity to begin to regulate marijuana sales, with the ultimate aim being to regulate, sell and tax the product in the same manner as government now regulates, sells and taxes alcohol.
It won’t be easy, but it can be done, step by step, until the product is of a high-enough quality and low-enough cost to render grow-ops and dealers obsolete.
Don’t think so?
How many illegal moonshine stills have the Kamloops RCMP busted lately?
If the Conservative government believes in marijuana prohibition, why does it not believe in prohibition of tobacco or alcohol?
Then there is the health argument.
Smoking pot is not good for you.
No, it is not — lighting anything and inhaling its toxic smoke into your lungs rarely is.
However, if we are to go down that road and base the legality of a substance on its health effects, then we must ban alcohol, which kills more people each year than all other drugs combined.
We must ban cigarettes. We must ban sugar. We must ban trans-fats.
If health is the benchmark, we must ban it all — and, if we did, the black-market mavens who now feast on marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy profits will be drooling in anticipation of becoming wealthy beyond their dreams.
There is also the youth argument — that legalizing pot will encourage youth to smoke and make it more available.
No, what it will do is separate marijuana from truly destructive substances and end the lie given to kids that a joint will lead to a life on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
When kids realize smoking pot does not, in fact, lead to a Reefer Madness psychotic state — as has been preached to them incessantly — is it any wonder they may not believe us when we try to convey the dangers of cocaine, crack and heroin?
Try this experiment to determine availability.
Wander down to any high school and ask a teenager to get you a six-pack of Budweiser.
Ask another teenager to get you some pot.
Guess which one will deliver immediately?
Guess which one will have a hell of a time procuring the goods?
Does it not seem strange to prohibitionists that the illegal substance is so much easier to obtain by kids than is the regulated, taxed substance?
There is no logic to maintaining the illegality of marijuana, and to argue the issue is beyond exhausting.