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"'Reefer Madness'-Madness"

Canada's National Post ran this story on the US reaction to Canadian discussion of marijuana decriminalization a few days ago:

U.S. drug czar John Walters warned yesterday that Canadians could face problems at the border if Ottawa proceeds with the decriminalization of marijuana.

Mr. Walters travelled to the Canada-U.S. border at Buffalo to deliver his message on the same day a Commons committee called for the possession and cultivation of less than 30 grams of marijuana to be decriminalized.

Mr. Walters, the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, said RCMP officials recently told him that 95% of all marijuana grown in Vancouver is sent to the United States.

"The RCMP informed me that many of the organizations, some of them ethnically based, Vietnamese organizations and others, that are doing the grows in British Columbia are now moving groups across Canada to Ontario and Quebec to begin to supply larger parts of the United States," he said.

"It's bad for people in Canada and the consumption and dependence problems it creates, but also, their estimates are the bulk of that marijuana is headed for the United States and it's large quantity, high-potency and it builds on the threat that we now believe we have underestimated and we're trying to address.

"It makes security at the border tougher because this is a dangerous threat to our young people given what we see and it makes the problem of controlling the border more difficult," he said.

Mr. Walters dismissed claims marijuana is not addictive or a serious drug, saying the level of psychoactive THC is much higher than it used to be. "That's archaic views of what marijuana was, left over from the Cheech and Chong years of the '70s," he said, cautioning against "reefer-madness madness."

Not only is this offensive in the sense that the US is throwing its weight around, trying to tell other countries how to handle their drug problems (as if we should be giving anyone advice on drug policy), but it doesn't make sense. The Canadians are talking about decriminalizing possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana by individuals. What does this have to do with "Vietnamese organizations and others" sending "95% of all marijuana grown in Vancouver... to the United States?"

First we had the "War on Drugs" -- a war against an individual behavioral choice. Now we have the "War on Terror" -- a war against a strategy. That makes two unwinnable wars in which we're engaged. Any nominations for more?


I stumbled upon this site in a random web-search... but I would have to say I enjoy your musings immensely. Agreed 100% on Bush's catch-phrase wars!

Thanks for the kind words!

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