Pubdate: Thu, 7 Oct 2004
Source: Anchorage Press (AK)
Copyright: 2004 Anchorage Publishing, Inc.
Author: Keith Stroup


I was disappointed that a quote of mine in last week's article ("If
voters plant it, will it grow?") about the Proposition 2 marijuana
initiative on the ballot in Alaska this fall appeared to indicate that
I was opposed to this measure. In fact, I am strongly in support of
the proposal.

Approval of Proposition 2 by the voters would send a clear message to
Congress that Alaskans at least are not satisfied with the current
criminal prohibition of marijuana contained in federal law, and prefer
adopting a legally controlled market where consumers could obtain
their marijuana in a safe and secure environment. It is the decision
the country made regarding alcohol in the 1920s, when it became
apparent that alcohol prohibition was causing far more harm than the
use of alcohol itself.

My comment about the need to focus resources in states where smokers
continue to be arrested is valid because 700,000 Americans continue to
be arrested each year in this country on marijuana charges. We must
stop this senseless policy of treating marijuana smokers like
criminals. But that debate must occur before the signatures are
gathered, not once the proposal is on the ballot. Now that the measure
has qualified for the ballot, and voters in Alaska have the
opportunity to register their support for legalizing marijuana, all of
us who care about a more sensible and humane marijuana policy would
urge the approval of this forward-looking proposal. It should serve as
a means to advance the debate over marijuana policy beyond the
question of medical use, to the ultimate question of whether we should
treat responsible marijuana smokers as criminals, regardless of why
they smoke.

I hope this clarifies my position on Proposition 2, and I apologize
for any confusion.

Keith Stroup, executive director

National Organization of Reform of Marijuana Laws
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