- BC Games
Connect with Us
EDITORIAL: Prohibition the real gateway to harder drugs
Dana Larsen and Sensible B.C.’s campaign to force a referendum on the future of marijuana laws in this province gets under way next week, giving British Columbians the opportunity to have their say on the future of the pot industry.
British Columbians are already getting the message: A 2012 Angus Reid poll found that 60 per cent of residents support legalizing the drug.
They know that by doing away with pot prohibition, the provincial government will be able to tap into a huge tax revenue stream, police forces will be able to focus on more meaningful work, and we can make it harder for kids to get their hands on it.
B.C. has the opportunity to be a leader in the recreational and medicinal marijuana industry by moving to tightly regulated, agricultural production model, coupled with strictly-controlled sales to adults.
The B.C. cannabis industry is estimated to generate $6 billion annually, all tax-free.
An industrial farming model, as opposed to the current hodge-podge of poorly renovated basements and attics currently used to grow marijuana, will bring the cost of production down drastically thanks to economies of scale. This will in turn remove most of the financial incentive for casual growers to keep their own plants.
This has certainly been the case with tobacco.
Opponents of marijuana legalization have long pointed to pot as a “gateway” drug, that its use often leads to harder drugs.
This is partly true.
That’s because the same unscrupulous individual who is selling pot to teenagers is also likely selling harder, more addictive drugs like meth amphetamine, cocaine, or heroin.
After gaining the trust of the young pot head, the dealer will introduce a naive teen to the heavy stuff. And the first one is always free.
Sadly, once is often all it takes to develop a drug addiction.
Marijuana is only a gateway drug in that it leads users into the seedy world of black market drug sales.
Interestingly, a recent University of Florida study appearing in the Journal of School Health found that alcohol use was the biggest predictor of future hard drug use, not marijuana.
So bring the sale and production of marijuana out into the open, and you will take it out of the hands of dealers, thus taking away their ability to introduce harder drugs to our kids.
This will also have the effect of making it harder for minors to buy marijuana.
Drug dealers don’t ask for ID, and they aren’t mandated by the government to close down by a certain hour every night.
Organized crime is a product of prohibition. Prohibition gives criminals a lucrative illegal revenue stream, one they will often resort to violence to protect.
The legalized, tightly-controlled sale of marijuana will not only generate millions, if not billions in tax revenue, it will take the power away from organized crime, making our streets safer and protect our children from greater harm.
-South Delta Leader