Pubdate: Fri, 05 Jul 2002
Source: Pahrump Valley Times (NV)
Copyright: 2002 Pahrump Valley Times
Author: Robert Sharpe


Columnist Rich Thurlow (PVT 6/26) is absolutely right about marijuana's 
evil being more hype than substance. Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never 
been shown to cause an overdose death, nor does it share the addictive 
properties of tobacco. America's marijuana laws are based on culture and 
xenophobia, not science.

The first marijuana laws were enacted in response to Mexican migration 
during the early 1900s, despite opposition from the American Medical 
Association. White Americans did not even begin to smoke marijuana until a 
soon-to-be entrenched government bureaucracy began funding reefer madness 

Dire warnings that marijuana inspires homicidal rages have been 
counterproductive at best. An estimated 38 percent of Americans have now 
smoked pot. The reefer madness myths have long been discredited, forcing 
the drug war gravy train to spend millions of tax dollars on politicized 
research, trying to find harm in a relatively harmless plant.

Unlike the shameless bureaucrats whose jobs depend on never-ending drug 
war, Nevadans for Responsible Law Enforcement have their priorities in 
order. There is a big difference between condoning marijuana use and 
protecting children from drugs. Decriminalization acknowledges the social 
reality of marijuana use. What's really needed is a regulated market with 
age controls. Right now kids have an easier time buying pot than beer.

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 harder drugs like meth. Drug policy 
reform may send the wrong message to children, but I like to think the 
children themselves are more important than the message.


Robert Sharpe, M.P.A.

Program Officer

Drug Policy Alliance
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