Pubdate: Tue, 05 Feb 2008
Source: Pipe Dream (NY Edu)
Copyright: 2008sPipe Dream
Author: Robert Sharpe
Note: Title by newshawk


To the Editor:

Taxing marijuana wouldn't be a bad idea, providing sales were 
regulated and could be taxed. New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer can't rely 
on organized crime to submit tax returns for his budget shortfall 
plan. There is a big difference between condoning marijuana use and 
protecting children from drugs. Decriminalization acknowledges the 
social reality of marijuana and frees users from the stigma of 
life-shattering criminal records.

What's really needed is a regulated market with age controls. 
Separating the hard and soft drug markets is critical. As long as 
marijuana distribution is controlled by organized crime, marijuana 
consumers will continue to come into contact with sellers of hard 
drugs like methamphetamine. This "gateway" is the direct result of a 
fundamentally flawed policy.

Given that marijuana is arguably safer than legal alcohol -- the 
plant has never been shown to cause an overdose death -- it makes no 
sense to waste tax dollars on failed policies that finance organized 
crime and facilitate the use of hard drugs. Students who want to help 
end the intergenerational culture war otherwise known as the war on 
some drugs should contact Students for Sensible Drug Policy at

Robert Sharpe, MPA

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington, D.C.
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