Pubdate: Fri, 22 Feb 2008
Source: Telegraph, The (Nashua, NH)
Copyright: 2008 Telegraph Publishing Company
Author: Robert Sharpe


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,
consumers will continue to come into contact with sellers of hard
drugs like heroin. 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. Drug policy reform may send the
wrong message to children, but I like to think the children are more
important than the message.

Robert Sharpe, MPA

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy,
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