Pubdate: Wed, 05 Mar 2003
Source: Daily Vanguard (OR Edu)
Copyright: 2003, Daily Vanguard
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Ashcroft, John)
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


Kudos to Ira Kortum for an excellent Feb. 28th column on Attorney General 
John Ashcroft's marijuana jihad. While the nation is under high alert for 
terrorism, Ashcroft orders the Department of Justice to focus their limited 
resources on a nationwide hunt for bongs. The drug war is in large part a 
war against marijuana, by far the most popular illicit drug. Marijuana 
prohibition has done little other than burden millions of otherwise 
law-abiding citizens with criminal records.

The University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future Study reports that 
lifetime use of marijuana is higher in the U.S. than any European country, 
yet America is one of the few Western countries that uses its criminal 
justice system to punish 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, the U.S. government is 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 American taxpayers deluded into believing big 
government is the appropriate response to non-traditional consensual vices.

Students who want to end the intergenerational culture war otherwise known 
as the war on some drugs should contact Students for Sensible Drug Policy 

The results of a comparative study of European and U.S. rates of drug use 
can be found at:

*MTF is funded by the U.S. government

Robert Sharpe, MPA, Program Officer, Drug Policy Alliance, Washington, DC
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