Pubdate: Wed, 20 Nov 2002
Source: Haleakala Times (HI)
Copyright: 2002 Haleakala Times
Author: Robert Sharpe,
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Dear Editor,

According to a Time/CNN poll, 80 percent of Americans support
compassionate-use medical marijuana legislation and 72 percent believe
adults who use Pakalolo recreationally should be fined, not jailed. The
number of Americans who support taxing and regulating marijuana has doubled
since 1986.

Unfortunately, a review of marijuana legislation 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. White Americans did not
even begin to smoke marijuana until a soon-to-be entrenched government
bureaucracy began funding "reefer madness" propaganda.

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.

The direct experience of millions of Americans contradicts the
sensationalistic myths used to justify marijuana prohibition. Illegal drug
use is the only public health issue wherein key stakeholders are not only
ignored, but actively persecuted and incarcerated. In terms of medical
marijuana, those stakeholders happen to be cancer and AIDS patients.

Hawaiian patients may be protected, but for how long? The U.S. Drug
Enforcement Administration has conducted numerous paramilitary raids on
medical marijuana gardens in California and Oregon. The very same federal
government that claims illicit drug use funds terrorism is forcing sick
patients into the hands of street dealers. Apparently federal marijuana laws
are more important than protecting the country from terrorism.

Additional information:

Pew Research poll findings


Robert Sharpe, M.P.A., Program Officer

Drug Policy Alliance 

Washington, DC 20005
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