Pubdate: Thu, 21 Nov 2002
Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)
Contact:  2002 Detroit Free Press
Author: Robert Sharpe,


District Judge Thomas Gilbert, caught taking two puffs of a joint at a
Rolling Stones concert in Detroit, recently entered a 28-day rehabilitation
program for alcohol abuse ("Judge is in rehab after smoking pot," Nov. 16).
That an isolated instance of marijuana use would somehow lead to a stint in
drug rehab is not without precedent. 

Record numbers of Americans arrested for marijuana offenses have been forced
into treatment by the criminal justice system. The resulting distortion of
treatment statistics has been used by drug czar John Walters to make the
claim that marijuana is addictive. 

The coercion of Americans who prefer marijuana to martinis into
taxpayer-funded treatment centers says a lot about government priorities,
but absolutely nothing about the relative harms of marijuana. 

For an objective take on marijuana, look to Canada. Canada's Senate recently
concluded that marijuana is relatively benign, marijuana prohibition
finances organized crime, and law enforcement efforts have little impact on
patterns of use. 

Robert Sharpe, Program Officer, Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, D.C.
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