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October 2003
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An Excellent Article

SAY GOODBYE TO “JUST SAY NO” – The Drug Laws Have Been Ineffective And Counterproductive. So Change Them. by Simon Potter, President of the Canadian Bar Association, in the upcoming issue of Time Magazine (Canada).

Our current laws have not stopped people from using marijuana. What these laws have done is greatly expand the profits of criminal and even terrorist organizations, promote a violent black-market trade and waste the time and limited resources of police, prosecutors and the justice system. They have made the drug use that does occur more dangerous. Governments have relied on simplistic “just say no” messages to deal with the complex nature of drug use in our society. They have distracted us from the central issue–why some individuals use drugs in a way that causes harm to them and to the communities around them. In short, the existing approach has been unnecessary, expensive, ineffectual and counterproductive.
Criminal law is a blunt instrument, inappropriate for dealing with many of the subtleties of a complex society. The Canadian government’s own statement of criminal-justice policy recognizes this. The Criminal Law in Canadian Society, released in 1982 when Jean Chretien was Minister of Justice, stressed that the criminal law was an instrument of last resort, to be used only when other means of social control were inadequate or inappropriate. Yet successive federal governments have chosen to ignore this policy when it came to drugs…

We need more of this kind of truth and reason reported in the media.

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