Criminalizing the use of marijuana and other tough on crime approaches haven’t worked, say public health doctors from across Canada who propose taxation and regulation instead.
The chief medical health officers in three provinces wrote a paper reviewing the evidence on Canada’s current illicit drug policies in Wednesday’s issue of the journal Open Medicine. […]
Strang, Dr. Perry Kendall, chief provincial medical health officer for B.C. and Dr. Moira McKinnon, who holds the same job in Saskatchewan, wrote that opponents to drug policy reform commonly argue drug use would increase if health-based models were stressed over drug law enforcement.
But they said a recent study by the World Health Organization concluded that countries with stringent illegal drug policies for users did not have lower levels of use than those with liberal policies.
The authors said governments need to consider other approaches that include public health objectives that minimize health and social harms, such as:
- Taxing marijuana as alcohol and tobacco are.
- Licensing cannabis dispensaries and issuing prescriptions for medical marijuana.
- Implementing age limits and other sales restrictions like those used to reduce alcohol use.
- Regulating and controlling the availability of potent substances to reduce the illegal market.
That’s right. Tough drug laws are not part of a good balanced approach. They are harmful.