Pubdate: Sat, 23 Feb 2002
Source: Post-Star, The (NY)
Copyright: 2002 Glens Falls Newspapers Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Ashcroft, John)



Mark Freeman's Feb. 16 column was right on target.

Decriminalizing marijuana would free up police resources in Glens Falls, 
without necessarily leading to increased use. Punitive marijuana laws have 
little, if any, deterrent value. The University of Michigan's Monitoring 
the Future Study reports that lifetime use of marijuana is higher in the 
United States than any European country, yet America will is one of the few 
Western countries that wastes scarce resources punishing citizens who 
prefer marijuana to martinis.

Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death, 
nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco. The short-term 
health effects of marijuana are inconsequential compared to the long-term 
effects of criminal records. Unfortunately, marijuana represents the 
counterculture to misguided reactionaries in Congress intent on legislating 
their version of morality. In subsidizing the prejudices of culture 
warriors, our government is inadvertently subsidizing organized crime.

The drug war's distortion of immutable laws of supply and demand make an 
easily grown weed literally worth its weight in gold. The only clear 
winners in the war on marijuana are drug cartels and shameless 
tough-on-drugs politicians who've built careers on confusing drug 
prohibition's collateral damage with a relatively harmless plant. The big 
losers in this battle are the taxpayers who have been deluded into 
believing big government is the appropriate response to non-traditional 
consensual vices.

ROBERT SHARPE, M.P.A., Program Officer, Drug Policy Alliance, Washington, D.C.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jackl