Pubdate: Fri, 28 Apr 2006
Source: Journal Times, The (Racine, WI)
Copyright: 2006 The Journal Times
Author: Robert Sharpe


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. White Americans did not even begin to smoke pot until a
soon-to-be entrenched government bureaucracy began funding reefer
madness propaganda.

The reefer madness myths have long been discredited, forcing the drug
war gravy train to spend millions of tax dollars on politicized
research, trying to find harm in a relatively harmless plant.
Meanwhile, research that might demonstrate the medical efficacy of
marijuana has been consistently blocked by the FDA.

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.

The following Virginia Law Review article offers a good overview of
the cultural roots of marijuana legislation:

For additional historical background please see the Canadian Senate

Robert Sharpe, MPA, Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, DC
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