Pubdate: Wed, 04 Jun 2003
Source: East Bay Express (CA)
Copyright: 2003 New Times
Author: Robert Sharpe

"How Not to Write a Law," City of Warts, 5/14


The United States is one of the few Western countries that uses its 
criminal justice system to punish otherwise law-abiding citizens who prefer 
marijuana to martinis. Based on findings that criminal records are 
inappropriate as health interventions, a majority of European Union 
countries have decriminalized marijuana. Despite marijuana prohibition and 
perhaps because of forbidden fruit appeal, lifetime use of marijuana is 
higher in the US than any European country.

Evidence of the US government's reefer madness is best exemplified by the 
kangaroo court trial of Ed Rosenthal. By denying an officer of the City of 
Oakland the ability to use California's medical marijuana law and the US 
Constitution's Tenth Amendment protection of states' rights as a defense, 
Federal Judge Charles Breyer foisted a predetermined guilty verdict onto a 
grossly misinformed jury.

The Drug Enforcement Administration's paramilitary raids on voter-approved 
medical marijuana providers say a lot about US government priorities. The 
very same federal government that claims illicit drug use funds terrorism 
is forcing cancer and AIDS patients into the hands of street dealers. 
Apparently marijuana prohibition is more important than protecting the 
country from terrorism.

Robert Sharpe, program officer, Drug Policy Alliance, Washington, DC