Pubdate: Thu, 27 Feb 2003
Source: Spectator, The (GA Edu)
Copyright: 2003 The Spectator.
Author: Keith Stroup


Marijuana prohibition is a failed public policy that is wasting valuable 
law enforcement resources, and needlessly destroying the lives and careers 
of hundreds of thousands of good, productive citizens each year in this 
country. The costs of prohibition are far worse than any harm that may be 
caused by marijuana itself.

We spend an estimated $10 billion annually in a futile effort to identify, 
arrest and prosecute marijuana smokers and those from whom they purchase 
the drug.

This is an almost unbelievably stupid use of resources that should instead 
be fighting serious and violent crime, including terrorism. Is anyone 
really more frightened by marijuana smoking than by violent crime? Who 
decides these priorities?

The result is that more than 700,000 Americans are arrested on marijuana 
charges each year, and 88 percent of those arrests are for simple 
possession of marijuana, not cultivation or sale.

We have declared war against a whole segment of our population, without 
cause. The vast majority of marijuana smokers are good citizens who work 
hard, raise families, pay taxes, and contribute in a positive manner to 
their communities. They are not criminals, and we must stop treating them 
like criminals.

Treating the responsible use of marijuana by adults as a criminal matter is 
a misapplication of the criminal sanction and invites government into areas 
of our private lives that are inappropriate.

Most of us agree that the government has no business coming into our home 
to learn what books we are reading, the subject of our personal telephone 
conversations, or how we conduct ourselves in the privacy of our bedroom.

Similarly, the government has no business getting involved in the decision 
of whether we smoke marijuana or drink alcohol when we relax in the 
evening. In a free society, those are decision we permit the individual to 
make, free from government interference. sound familiar?).
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