Pubdate: Mon, 15 Apr 2002
Source: Harvard Crimson (MA Edu)
Copyright: 2002, The Harvard Crimson, Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe, Crimson Staff Writer


To the editors:

Kudos to the Crimson for an excellent editorial ("Decriminalize Marijuana," 
April 12). 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 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.

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.

Robert Sharpe

Washington, D.C.

April 12, 2002

The writer is Program Officer at the Drug Policy Alliance.
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