Pubdate: Tue, 17 Jul 2007
Source: Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan (SD)
Copyright: 2007 Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan
Author: Robert Sharpe


Kathleen Parker's July 9 column ("Bogarting Sanity In the Drug Wars," 
Press & Dakotan) 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 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 non-traditional consensual vices.


Washington, D.C.
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