Pubdate: Tue, 10 Jul 2007
Source: Aspen Daily News (CO)
Copyright: 2007 Aspen Daily News
Author: Robert Sharpe


Kathleen Parker's column on July 7 in the Aspen Daily News was right 
on target. Marijuana prohibition has done little other than burden 
millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens with criminal records. The 
University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future Study reports that 
lifetime use of marijuana is higher in the U.S. 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. Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause 
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, 
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 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 nontraditional consensual vices.

The results of a comparative study of European and U.S. rates of drug 
use can be found at: 
and United Nations statistics at:

Robert Sharpe,

policy analyst Common Sense for Drug Policy Washington, D.C.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom