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 Claim: Reducing punishment to cannabis users sends the wrong message to young people?

My response is, "What message are we currently sending to young people?"

The government is sending a clear message when it allows a significant number of citizens to receive a criminal record, fines, restricted employment opportunities, restriction of international travel, and possibly the loss of their freedom over a substance which is considered harmless relative to legal substances such as alcohol and tobacco.

When a young person learns that their own government and police are deceiving and misinforming them about the facts regarding marijuana, disillusionment and reduced respect for the rule of law is the result. "What else is my government lying to us about?" is an understandable reaction.

What kind of message would we be sending to young people if marijuana were legalized?
In my opinion the government would be sending the message that it has the integrity to be honest about a controversial topic and the courage to admit an injustice has been done to the marijuana consumers of Canada. A government should be FOR the people and the heavy hand of the law should be reserved for acts that cause significant and demonstrable harm to society or the person.

Truthful information about all drugs presented clearly and non-judgmentally cannot cause harm. It may offend some peoples sensibilities and disturb those who do not want to hear it, but it cannot hurt people. On the other hand, false information can and does lead people to hurt themselves and others.

From the Special Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs Summary Report :
" The public policy regime we propose expresses the fundamental premise underlying our report: in a free and democratic society, which recognizes fundamentally but not exclusively the rule of law as the source of normative rules and in which government must promote autonomy as far as possible and therefore make only sparing use of the instruments of constraint, public policy on psychoactive substances must be structured around guiding principles respecting the life, health, security and rights and freedoms of individuals, who, naturally and legitimately, seek their own well-being and development and can recognize the presence, difference and equality of others."


Abraham Lincoln had this to say about prohibition:
"Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded."

- Abraham Lincoln (1809-65), U.S. President. Speech, 18 Dec. 1840, to Illinois House of Representatives


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