Pubdate: Wed, 17 Dec 2008
Source: Porterville Recorder (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Freedom Communications Inc.
Author: Bruce Mirken


While no one would begrudge Sheriff Bill Wittman his award for doing
his job energetically, the unfortunate truth is that marijuana
"eradication" is a myth ("Anti-marijuana campaign earns national
honors," Dec. 3).

The U.S. government's own National Drug Threat Assessment 2008 reports
no decline in marijuana availability despite years of escalating plant
seizures and increasing arrests for possession. In fact, the report
cites raids on outdoor grows (such as those for which the sheriff is
being honored) as one of the factors causing illicit growers to "shift
operations indoors," where they "will produce higher-potency marijuana
year-round, allowing for an exponential increase in profits derived."

It is no disrespect to Mr. Wittman to say that he is being asked to
enforce a policy that makes things worse, not better. Marijuana
prohibition doesn't reduce use of the drug, but it enriches criminals
and prevents effective regulation of the very large marijuana
industry. We would do far better to regulate and tax marijuana as we
do beer, wine and liquor.

Bruce Mirken

Director of Communications

Marijuana Policy Project

San Francisco