Pubdate: Wed, 22 Aug 2007
Source: Times-Standard (Eureka, CA)
Copyright: 2007 MediaNews Group, Inc.
Author: Godfrey Tudor-Matthews


There is little doubt that any discussion about cannabis can produce
more heat than light. That said, it also appears that the greatest
beneficiaries of current attitudes are the law and drug enforcement
agencies. They are the ones who gain hugely from marijuana's
proscription while the public-at-large loses.

All the arguments against the use of marijuana can be applied to
tobacco and alcohol: Addictive, detrimental to lung tissue, cerebrally
impairing. Notwithstanding these arguments, there appears little
evidence that cannabis is more deleterious to the body than either
other substance; rather the reverse. Alcohol and tobacco seem to be
more addictive, and certainly an excess of alcohol is likely to be
more dangerous to a person behind the wheel of a car than marijuana.

Proscription of any substance opens the door to crime; demand
immediately raises prices. Did we learn nothing from the prohibition
of the use of alcohol between 1920 and 1933? Those 13 years spawned
the most powerful organized crime enterprises in the history of this
country, according to an Internet site called Da Mob. It was only when
Prohibition was repealed and alcohol taxed that the crime wave subsided.

We should legalize marijuana like tobacco; trade cannabis on the
Commodities Exchange, and put a tax on its use. This would save
communities million of dollars spent in eradication by law enforcement
personnel, freeing them to pursue other more deadly types of drugs
peddled by foreign cartels and, at the same time, bring in much
greatly needed tax revenue.

Godfrey Tudor-Matthews

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