Pubdate: Thu, 01 May 2008
Source: Ventura County Reporter (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Southland Publishing, Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding your editorial (See "You Get What you Pay For, Opinion,
4/24/08), fully decriminalizing marijuana would definitely save tax
dollars, and it would do so without necessarily increasing marijuana
use. The deterrent value of punitive marijuana laws is grossly
overrated. The University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future Study
reports that lifetime use of marijuana is higher in the U.S. than any
European country, yet America is one of the few Western countries that
punishes citizens who prefer marijuana to martinis. Unlike alcohol,
marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death, nor does it
share the addictive properties of tobacco. The short-term health
effects of marijuana are inconsequential compared to the long-term
effects of criminal records.

Unfortunately, marijuana represents the counterculture to many
Americans. In subsidizing the prejudices of culture warriors,
government is subsidizing organized crime. The drug war's distortion
of immutable laws of supply causes big money to grow on little trees.
Marijuana, which grows like a weed, would be virtually worthless if
legal. The only clear winners in the war on marijuana are drug cartels
and shameless tough-on-drugs politicians who've built careers
confusing drug prohibition's tremendous collateral damage with a
relatively harmless plant.

The big losers in this battle are the taxpayers who have been deluded
into believing big government is the appropriate response to
non-traditional consensual vices.

The results of a comparative study of European and U.S. rates of drug
use can be found at and
United Nations stats are at

Robert Sharpe, Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin