Pubdate: Wed, 22 Sep 2004
Source: Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
Copyright: 2004 The Sun-Times Co.
Author: Paul Armentano


Kudos to Chicago Police Sgt. Tom Donegan for proposing that Chicago law 
enforcement officers ticket rather than arrest adults caught with small 
amounts of marijuana ["Cop wants to fine -- not jail -- potheads," news 
story, Sept. 20].

Since 1973, 12 state legislatures -- Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, 
Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio 
and Oregon -- have enacted versions of marijuana decriminalization. In each 
of these states, adults no longer face jail time (nor in most cases, arrest 
or criminal records) for the possession or use of small amounts of 
marijuana. Contrary to opponents' claims, these laws have not contributed 
to an increase in marijuana consumption nor negatively impacted adolescent 
attitudes toward drug use.

Enforcing marijuana prohibition costs taxpayers an estimated $10 billion 
annually, results in the arrest of more than 700,000 individuals per year, 
and needlessly damages the lives and careers of hundreds of thousands of 
otherwise law-abiding citizens. Donegan is to be commended for proposing a 
common-sense alternative to this failed policy.

Paul Armentano, Senior Policy Analyst, NORML Foundation
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake