Pubdate: Mon, 11 Nov 2002
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Copyright: 2002 The Sacramento Bee
Author: Julie Ruiz-Sierra


Re "Prescribe pot?" Our views, Nov. 1: Marijuana prohibition itself should 
be subjected to a cost-benefit analysis. Unfortunately, such a review would 
open up a Pandora's box most politicians would just as soon avoid.

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. The majority of white Americans did not begin to smoke 
marijuana until a soon-to-be entrenched government bureaucracy began 
funding reefer madness propaganda. These 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 on research seeking to find harm in a relatively harmless 

California patients may be protected, but medical marijuana providers 
aren't. The same federal government that claims illicit drug use funds 
terrorism is forcing cancer and AIDS patients into the hands of street 
dealers. Apparently, marijuana laws are more important than protecting the 
country from terrorism.

- - Julie Ruiz-Sierra, Sacramento

Associate Director, Policy Analysis, Drug Policy Alliance
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