Pubdate: Fri, 13 Oct 2006
Source: Harvard Crimson (MA Edu)
Copyright: 2006, The Harvard Crimson, Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


To the editors:

Regarding Juliet S. Samuel's thoughtful op-ed of Oct. 10 ("Drug 
Policy? What Are You, High?"), the drug war is in large part a war on 
marijuana, by far the most popular illicit drug. Punitive marijuana 
laws have little, if any, deterrent value. The University of 
Michigan's "Monitoring the Future" study reports that lifetime use of 
marijuana is higher in the United States than in 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. Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to have 
caused an overdose death, nor does it share the addictive properties 
of tobacco. 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 U.S. 
government is subsidizing organized crime. The drug war's distortion 
of immutable laws of supply and demand makes 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 taxpayers who have been deluded into believing 
big government is the appropriate response to non-traditional consensual vices.


Arlington, Va.
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