Pubdate: Tue, 03 Jul 2007
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2007 The Baltimore Sun, a Times Mirror Newspaper.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Before we sacrifice any more civil liberties at the altar of the drug
war, the members of the Supreme Court should take a cue from the
nonsensical banner that inspired their recent decision limiting
student free speech ("Bong Hits 4 Jesus") and ask themselves, what
would Jesus do ("Whose free speech? Low point for high jinks,"
editorial, June 27)? Would Jesus persecute, incarcerate and deny
forgiveness to nonviolent drug offenders? Zero tolerance is a
decidedly un-Christian policy. Morally, the drug war is wrong. On a
practical level, the drug war is a complete failure.

There were 786,545 marijuana-related arrests in this country in 2005,
the vast majority for simple possession. America is one of the few
Western countries that punish citizens who prefer marijuana to
martinis. Yet the rate of marijuana use is higher in the United States
than in any European country. And thanks to the war on some drugs, the
land of the free now has the highest incarceration rate in the world.
Yet the drug war has failed to keep drugs out of prisons, much less
schools. In the future, the Supreme Court should choose protecting
civil liberties over perpetuating the drug war.

Robert Sharpe


The writer is a policy analyst for Common Sense for Drug Policy.
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