I would like to respond to Kelvin Sheeler’s recent letter to the editor regarding cannabis legalization (The NEWS, Oct. 29). I hope that I can help him understand some of his mis-perceptions.
The most basic point in his argument seems to be that the illegal status of drugs keeps people safer. The more dangerous drugs are, the more important it is to remove their distribution from the hands of criminals. As in the case of pharmaceuticals, which pose many dangers, all drug use should be treated as a health issue and dealt with in a legal and regulated framework. So, yes, Kelvin, we should legalize all drugs.
A regulated distribution system would decrease the availability of cannabis to minors. Cannabis is much more easily purchased at a high school than alcohol is, because distribution is illegal, and criminals don’t check ID.
Indeed, we have defeated some of the problems of alcohol use by ending prohibition. Prohibition of alcohol fueled much criminal activity, as is the case with illegal drugs.
Driving these things underground dis-empowers us to adequately deal with problems, and impedes treatment, where that is required. It also creates general disrespect, and fear, for the law.
Incarceration of individuals for drug offences has a devastating effect on families, and our society as a whole, and comes at great cost for poor results.
Sheeler’s ‘facts’ about cannabis are fraught with myth and misinformation, but there is only space to tackle one aspect of his letter. Folks, please do your own credible research before you form your opinions.