Pubdate: Thu, 26 Jul 2007
Source: Los Angeles City Beat (CA)
Copyright: 2007 Southland Publishing
Author: Robert Sharpe


[Re: "Lies, Damned Lies, and Marijuana," July 19] Mick
Farren is to be commended for exposing the racist roots of
marijuana prohibition. The original reefer madness myths
have all been exposed as lies. Unfortunately, our government
continues to lie about marijuana. Record numbers of U.S.
citizens arrested for marijuana possession have been forced
into treatment by the criminal justice system. The resulting
distortion of treatment statistics is used by drug czar John
Walters to make the claim that marijuana is "addictive."

Zero tolerance laws do not distinguish between occasional use and
chronic abuse. The coercion of Americans who prefer marijuana to
martinis into taxpayer-funded treatment centers says a lot about U.S.
government priorities, but absolutely nothing about the relative harms
of marijuana. For an objective take on marijuana, look to Canada.

After months of research, the Canadian Senate concluded in 2002 that
marijuana is relatively benign, marijuana prohibition contributes to
organized crime, and law enforcement efforts have little impact on
patterns of use. In the words of Senator Pierre Claude Nolin,
"Scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicates that cannabis is
substantially less harmful than alcohol and should be treated not as a
criminal issue but as a social and public health issue."

Robert Sharpe

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C. 
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