Pubdate: Wed, 30 May 2001
Source: Prague Post (Czech Republic)
Author: Robert Sharpe


The (Civic Democratic Party) ODS proposal to decriminalize marijuana
("Softer drug law sought" News, May 9-15) is a step in the right
direction, but the proposed legislation does nothing to undermine the
thriving black market. There is a big difference between condoning
marijuana use and protecting children from drugs. The thriving black
market has no age controls that work to keep drugs out of the hands of
children. The Netherlands has successfully reduced overall drug use by
replacing marijuana prohibition with limited regulation.

Separating the hard and soft drug markets and establishing age controls
for marijuana have proven more effective than zero tolerance. Illegal
marijuana provides the black -market contacts that introduce youth to
drugs like heroin. This "gateway" is the direct result of a
fundamentally flawed policy. Taxing and regulating marijuana is a
cost-effective alternative to spending billions annually on a failed
drug war.

Robert Sharpe, Program Officer
The Lindesmith Center/ Drug Policy Foundation Washington, D.C.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Doc-Hawk