Pubdate: Thu, 30 Sep 2004
Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)
Copyright: 2004 Chicago Tribune Company
Author: Robert Sharpe


Washington -- Regarding Chicago Police Sgt. Thomas Donegan's proposal
to fine rather than arrest marijuana smokers, there is a big
difference between condoning marijuana use and protecting children
from drugs ("Some marijuana arrests may mean just a ticket," Metro,
Sept. 21). Decriminalization acknowledges the social reality of
marijuana use and frees users from the stigma of life-shattering
criminal records.

What's really needed is a regulated market with age controls.
Separating the hard and soft drug markets is critical.

As long as marijuana distribution remains in the hands of organized
crime, consumers will continue to come into contact with sellers of
hard drugs like cocaine. This "gateway" is the direct result of a
fundamentally flawed policy.

Given that marijuana is arguably safer than legal alcohol, it makes no
sense to waste tax dollars enforcing a failed policy of marijuana
prohibition that finances organized crime and facilitates the use of
hard drugs.

Robert Sharpe, Policy analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake