Pubdate: Wed, 15 Aug 2007
Source: Sierra Sun (Truckee, CA)
Copyright: 2007 Sierra Sun
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding Thomas Elias's Aug. 12 column, ("Medical pot harassment 
aids illicit use") 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 
immigration during the early 1900s, despite opposition from the 
American Medical Association. Dire warnings that marijuana inspires 
homicidal rages have been counterproductive at best. White Americans 
did not even begin to smoke pot until a soon-to-be entrenched 
government bureaucracy began funding reefer-madness propaganda.

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:

Robert Sharpe

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, DC
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