Pubdate: Thu, 16 Sep 2004
Source: Billings Outpost, The (MT)
Copyright: 2004 The Billings Outpost
Author: Robert Sharpe


Not only should medical marijuana be made available to patients in
need, but adult recreational use should be regulated. Drug policies
modeled after alcohol prohibition have given rise to a youth-oriented
black market. Illegal drug dealers don't ID for age, but they do
recruit minors immune to adult sentences. So much for protecting the
children. Throwing more money at the problem is no solution. Attempts
to limit the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains constant
only increase the profitability of drug trafficking. For addictive
drugs like methamphetamine, a spike in street prices leads desperate
addicts to increase criminal activity to feed desperate habits. The
drug war doesn't fight crime, it fuels crime.

Taxing and regulating marijuana, the most popular illicit drug, is a
cost-effective alternative to never-ending drug war. As long as
marijuana distribution remains in the hands of organized crime,
consumers will continue to come into contact with hard drugs like
cocaine. This "gateway" is the direct result of a fundamentally flawed

Given that marijuana is arguably safer than alcohol - the plant has
never been shown to cause an overdose death - it makes no sense to
waste tax dollars on failed policies that finance organized crime and
facilitate hard drug use. Drug policy reform may send the wrong
message to children, but I like to think the children are more
important than the message.

Robert Sharpe

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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