Pubdate: Tue,  7 Dec 2004
Source: Tribune Review (Pittsburgh, PA)
Copyright: 2004 Tribune-Review Publishing Co.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding your Dec. 2 editorial on medical marijuana and the case Raich v. 
Ashcroft, now before the U.S. Supreme Court ("Reefer madness"):

If health outcomes determined drug laws instead of cultural norms, 
marijuana would be legal. Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to 
cause an overdose death, nor does it share the addictive properties of 
tobacco. Marijuana can be harmful if abused, but jail cells are 
inappropriate as health interventions and ineffective as deterrents.

The first marijuana laws were enacted in response to Mexican migration 
during the early 1900s, despite opposition from the American Medical 
Association. Dire warnings that marijuana inspires homicidal rages have 
been counterproductive at best. White Americans did not even begin to smoke 
pot until an entrenched government bureaucracy began funding reefer madness 

By raiding voter-approved medical marijuana providers in California, the 
very same U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration that claims illicit drug use 
funds terrorism is forcing cancer and AIDS patients into the hands of 
street dealers. Apparently marijuana prohibition is more important than 
protecting the country from terrorism.

Robert Sharpe

Washington, D.C.

The writer is a policy analyst for Common Sense for Drug
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