YourOttawaRegion Article: Drug prosecutor slams call to end marijuana prohibition Desmond Devoy 12345 BLACKS CORNERS â€“ An area federal drug prosecutor and local law enforcement are slamming a letter written by several former Vancouver mayors calling for an end to the prohibition on marijuana. One-time British Columbia Premier Mike Harcourt, along with former Vancouver mayors Larry Campbell, Sam Sullivan and Philip Owen, signed a letter last week stating that â€œmarijuana prohibition is â€“ without question â€“ a failed policy.â€ â€œIt's against the law, that's the law of this country,â€ said federal drug prosecutor Mike Ross, during the Lanark County and Town of Smiths Falls municipal drug strategy steering committee's ninth networking day at the Beckwith Township municipal offices on Nov. 25. Ross noted there are exemptions for medical marijuana, which are quite stringent, but do help those in real need. â€œI don't think that there is enough research into the effects of marijuana,â€ OP-inserted Content: http://forum.grasscity.com/medical-marijuana/525051-granny-storm-crows-mmj-reference-list.html Ross said. â€œI don't support what is being said,â€ he added, of possible decriminalization or legalization. Ross' words were echoed by Const. David Murphy of the Smiths Falls Police Service. â€œIt starts off small, like a gateway drug,â€ Murphy said of marijuana use. â€œIt's not the same drug it was 30, 40 years ago.â€ Criminal gangs, who control the cultivation, production and distribution of marijuana, have been known to add chemicals and addictive substances to marijuana, police point out. Murphy also noted there were numerous arrests in Smiths Falls a few weeks ago during a drug sweep, and that he has seen people start off with marijuana and progress towards harder drugs. â€œWe've seen people start off small,â€ Murphy said, adding that on harder drugs, many addicts later turn to crime to get money to feed their addiction. â€œThey (drug dealers) make them do things to get money to get the drugs.â€ Ross also noted that if someone is arrested on a drug charge, they usually have only one shot at a court-diversion program. â€œA lot of people who are getting involved in drugs right now are people who have lost their jobs,â€ said Ross, underscoring the role poverty plays in crime and addiction. â€œThey get drawn into this type of activity.â€ The letter by the four B.C. politicians was sent to MPs, MLAs and Vancouver city councillors on Nov. 23, as a way to address that province's problem with gang-related violence. TOUGH ON CRIME The Harper Conservative government is in the midst of bringing in a multitude of changes to criminal law, and mandatory minimum sentences which, it says, will reduce crime. â€œI think that that will change the landscape for sure,â€ said Ross of the incoming changes. â€œIt is the law and we must enforce the law.â€ Ross also noted the new sentences will help law enforcement. â€œI think that the more serious offences (sentences) â€¦ will make people think twice,â€ said Ross. â€œ(And) it'll hopefully (have) more creative opportunities to deal with offences.â€ But Ross did note there was some concern in the law enforcement community about the effect the new sentences will have on the jail system. He noted the Brockville jail is already over capacity, with inmates sleeping on the floor in cramped quarters. â€œIt ends up in violence,â€ he said of such crowded conditions amongst inmates.