Pubdate: Wed, 25 Sep 2002
Source: Boston Weekly Dig (MA)
Copyright: 2002 Boston Weekly Dig
Author: Robert Sharpe
Note: headline by newshawk
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Dear Editor,

So Boston voters will get a chance to vote on a marijuana
decriminalization ballot initiative this November (News To Us, Issue
#4.35). They should take that chance. Punitive marijuana laws have
little if any deterrent value. The University of Michigan's Monitoring
the Future study reports that lifetime use of marijuana is higher in
the US than any European country. Yet America is one of the few
Western countries that uses its criminal justice system to destroy the
lives of citizens who prefer marijuana to martinis.

Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose
death, nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco. The
short-term health effects of marijuana are inconsequential compared to
the long-term effects of criminal records. Unfortunately, marijuana
represents the counterculture to misguided reactionaries in Congress
intent on legislating their version of morality. In subsidizing the
prejudices of culture warriors the US government is inadvertently
subsidizing organized crime.

The drug war's distortion of immutable laws of supply and demand make
an easily grown weed literally worth its weight in gold. The only
clear winners in the war on some drugs are drug cartels and shameless
tough-on-drugs politicians who've built careers on confusing drug
prohibition's collateral damage with a relatively harmless plant. The
big losers in this battle are the American taxpayers who have been
deluded into believing big government is the appropriate response to
non-traditional consensual vices.


Robert Sharpe, M.P.A.

Program Officer

Drug Policy Alliance
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake