Pubdate: Wed, 10 May 2000
Source: Athens Daily News (GA)
Copyright: 2000 Athens Newspapers Inc.
Address: PO Box 912, Athens, GA 30603
Fax: 706-208-2246
Author: Robert Sharpe


In Andy Totten's May 2 letter criticizing the Millennium Marijuana
March he derides the "losers" who will attend and mentions "the
children." If he is truly concerned about children's access to drugs
he might want to reconsider marijuana legalization.

Current drug policy is, in effect, a gateway drug policy. While there
is nothing inherent in the marijuana plant that compels users to try
harder drugs, its black market status puts users in contact with
unscrupulous individuals that push hard drugs.

Equally disturbing is the manner in which children have an easier time
purchasing marijuana than beer. While a liquor store will refuse to
sell alcohol to a minor to avoid losing its license, a drug dealer
will sell to anyone with cash. As long as marijuana remains illegal,
the established criminal distribution network will ensure that
Americans' children can sample every new poison concocted by drug pushers.

Given that marijuana is increasingly recognized as being safer than
alcohol or tobacco it is impossible to die from a marijuana overdose
why not end marijuana prohibition? The answer, of course, is culture.

The marijuana leaf represents the counterculture to those Americans
who would like to turn the clock back to the 1950s. This misguided
culture war has gone on long enough. As counterintuitive as it may
seem, legalizing marijuana would both limit access and separate the
hard and soft drug markets which serve to introduce youth to the truly
deadly drugs.

Robert Sharpe
- ---
MAP posted-by: Greg