Pubdate: Tue, 25 Feb 2003
Source: Daily Independent, The (KY)
Copyright: 2003 The Daily Independent, Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding your thoughtful Feb. 17 editorial, drug courts are definitely a 
step in the right direction. For non-violent offenders with chronic 
substance abuse problems, drug treatment is a cost-effective alternative to 

Unfortunately, drug courts are being misused for political purposes. Record 
numbers of Americans arrested for marijuana possession have been forced 
into treatment by the criminal justice system. The resulting distortion of 
treatment statistics is then used by drug czar John Walters to make the 
claim that marijuana is "addictive."

Zero tolerance drug laws do not distinguish between occasional use and 
chronic abuse. The coercion of Americans who prefer marijuana to martinis 
into taxpayer-funded treatment centers says a lot about U.S. government 
priorities, but absolutely nothing about the relative harms of marijuana.

For an objective take on marijuana, look to Canada. In the words of Senator 
Pierre Claude Nolin, "Scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicates that 
cannabis is substantially less harmful than alcohol and should be treated 
not as a criminal issue but as a social and public health issue."

Robert Sharpe, MPA

Program Officer

Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, D.C.
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