Friday, March 04, 2005

The toll of drug laws

Add 4 RCMP officers to the list of victims of drug prohibition. Four Mounties were shot during a raid on a grow-op in central Alberta, Canada. The reaction of government officials and the law enforcement community is predictable and not at all encouraging:

Anne McLellan, the Deputy Prime Minister and Public Safety Minister, also offered her sympathies to the families of the slain officers. She promised that Ottawa would consider toughening laws against grow-ops, calling them a rapidly expanding organized-crime threat. Without providing details, she said the government would consider changes to a bill before the Commons to decriminalize marijuana, which includes stiffer penalties for grow operations.

RCMP Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli expressed hope the incident will encourage Canadians to reconsider their views on marijuana. "Hopefully this type of a tragedy will make us review and rethink and reflect and bring a perspective to some of these issues as Canadians," he said. "Drugs are illegal and they're extremely dangerous and people have to understand that. And when you have people who are promoting the issue of safe drugs or [that] there are harmless drugs, I think that is something that we better understand is not the right way to go. We don't solve anything in society by legalizing things or by pretending they're not harmful to society."

Don't even get me started on this guy's comments (I'm sure I'll get started on it soon enough).

I hate to use the death of four people to prove a political point (although Commissioner Zaccardelli doesn't seem to mind pouncing on it), but this just reaffirms what anyone with any sense realizes about the effects of drug prohibition. And of course, this will spark a debate about "tougher laws" on drugs, because it seems that nobody in the government or the police force has ever considered the fact that the violence associated with drugs is a result of them being illegal.


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