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Hazardous marijuana grow operations are a direct result of marijuana prohibition. Legitimate farmers do not steal electricity to grow produce in the basements of rented homes. If legal, growing marijuana would be less profitable than farming tomatoes. As it stands, the drug war distorts market forces such that an easily grown weed is literally worth its weight in gold. Rather than continue to subsidize organized crime, Canadian policy makers should ignore the reefer madness hysteria of the U.S. government and instead look to their own Senate for guidance. In the words of Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, ?Scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicates that cannabis is substantially less harmful than alcohol and should be treated not as a criminal issue, but as a social and public health issue.? There is a big difference between condoning marijuana use and protecting children from drugs. Decriminalization acknowledges the social reality of marijuana use and frees users from the stigma of life-shattering criminal records. What?s really needed is a regulated market with age controls. Separating the hard and soft drug markets is critical. As long as marijuana distribution remains in the hands of organized crime, consumers will continue to come into contact with such addictive drugs as cocaine. This ?gateway? is the direct result of a fundamentally flawed policy. Drug policy may send the wrong message to children, but I like to think the children are more important than the message. Robert Sharpe Program officer with the Washington-based Drug Policy Alliance