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November 2005
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Vancouver calls for end to prohibition

From Cannabis Culture yesterday:

Today the Vancouver City Council unanimously adopted “Preventing Harm From Psychoactive Substance Use,” a plan that, among other things, calls for an end to prohibition and the regulated distribution of cannabis. […]

The prevention plan covers a wide range of substances. It includes recommendations on legal and currently-illegal substances. Importantly, the plan represents a major push forward on one of Vancouver’s “Four Pillars” of drug policy: prevention. Worthy of note is that the plan’s definition of prevention deems it to be preventing harm, not simply preventing use. In fact, the plan recognizes the human reality that: “Substance use occurs along a spectrum from beneficial, to non-problematic or casual use, through to problematic or harmful use.”

The concept of a spectrum of use is one key part of the underlying philosophy of the plan. Another is the recognition that regulated markets are an essential part of preventing harm to our society. According to the Vancouver Plan: “The intent of creating regulated markets for currently illegal substances is to better control their public availability. Regulated markets support the idea that ‘No drug is made safer left in the hands of organized criminals and unregulated dealers.'”

The full plan is available here (pdf). Now I don’t agree with everything in the plan, but Vancouver is clearly on a strong track, separating use from abuse, recognizing the importance of harm reduction and realizing that prohibition is ineffective.

[Thanks, Tom]

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