Pubdate: Wed, 28 Jul 2004
Source: Free Times (SC)
Copyright: 2004sPortico Publications, Ltd.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Kudos to Henry Koch of the Midlands chapter of the National Organization for
the Reform of Marijuana Laws for his excellent op-ed, "Marijuana
Prohibition: Who Does It Protect?" (My Turn, July 21). 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 United States
than in 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 many Americans. 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 who have been
deluded into believing big government is the appropriate response to
non-traditional consensual vices.

Robert Sharpe, Policy Analyst Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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