Pubdate: Sat, 15 Mar 2003
Source: Fayetteville Observer (NC)
Copyright: 2003 Fayetteville Observer
Author: Robert Sharpe


I'm not surprised to read that brazen thieves stole 500 pounds of marijuana 
from the evidence room in the state Highway Patrol office on U.S. 301. 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.

Punitive marijuana laws have little, if any, deterrent value. Lifetime use 
of marijuana is higher in the United States than any European country, yet 
the United States 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.

Marijuana can be harmful if abused, but criminal records are hardly 
appropriate health interventions. Unfortunately, marijuana represents the 
counterculture to misguided reactionaries intent on legislating their 
version of morality.

In subsidizing the prejudices of culture warriors, the U.S. government is 
inadvertently subsidizing organized crime. The big losers in this battle 
are the taxpayers deluded into believing big government is the appropriate 
response to non-traditional consensual vices.

Robert Sharpe

Program officer, Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, D.C.
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