Pubdate: Wed, 10 May 2006
Source: Diamondback, The (U of MD Edu)
Copyright: 2006 Maryland Media, Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Members of the University of Maryland chapters of the National
Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and Students for
Sensible Drug Policy are to be commended for their efforts to reduce
marijuana penalties.

Marijuana prohibition has done little more than burden millions of
otherwise law-abiding citizens with criminal records. The University
of Michigan's Monitoring the Future study reports that lifetime
marijuana use is higher in the United States than any European
country, yet America is one of the few Western countries that uses its
criminal justice system to punish citizens who prefer marijuana to
martinis. The short-term health effects of marijuana are
inconsequential compared to the long-term effects of criminal records.
Unfortunately, marijuana represents the counterculture to many Americans.

In subsidizing the prejudices of culture warriors, the government is
subsidizing organized crime. The drug war's distortion of immutable
laws of supply and demand make an easily grown weed literally worth
its weight in gold. The only clear winners in the war on marijuana are
drug cartels and shameless tough-on-drugs politicians who've built
careers on confusing drug prohibition's collateral damage with a
relatively harmless plant. The big losers in this battle are the
American taxpayers who have been deluded into believing big government
is the appropriate response to non-traditional consensual vices.

Robert Sharpe

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy