Pubdate: Wed, 22 Mar 2006
Source: News Today, The  (Philippines)
Copyright: 2006 The News Today
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding Francisco Lindero's Mar. 20th column, before the Philippines
imprisons more of its own citizens for drug offenses in order to
please the United States, it should consider the experience of the
former land of the free and current record holder in citizens
incarcerated. Here in the United States, police searches on public
transit, drug-sniffing dogs in schools, and random drug testing have
led to a loss of civil liberties, while failing miserably at
preventing drug use.

The drug war is in large part a war on marijuana, by far the most
popular illicit drug. The University of Michigan's Monitoring the
Future survey reports that lifetime use of marijuana is higher in the
U.S. than any European country (the results of a comparative study of
European and U.S. rates of drug use can be found at:, yet America is
one of the few Western countries that uses its criminal justice system
to punish citizens who prefer marijuana to martinis. Unlike alcohol,
marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death, nor does it
share the addictive properties of tobacco.

Despite clear evidence that draconian laws fail to deter use, the U.S.
government uses its superpower status to export a dangerous moral
crusade around the globe. The short-term health effects of marijuana
are inconsequential compared to the long-term effects of criminal
records. Unfortunately, marijuana represents the counterculture to
misguided reactionaries intent on prosecuting their version of
morality. The Philippines should Just Say No to the American

Robert Sharpe, MPA

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, DC

United States of America