Pubdate: Mon, 9 Jun 2008
Source: Florida Today (Melbourne, FL)
Copyright: 2008 Florida Today
Author: Robert Sharpe


International drug cartels are the prime beneficiaries of indoor
marijuana eradication efforts. As long as there is a demand for
marijuana, there will be a supply.

Eliminating a local cottage industry only to have it replaced by
organized crime groups that also sell cocaine, heroin and
methamphetamine is not necessarily a good thing.

There is a big difference between condoning marijuana use and
protecting children from drugs. Decriminalization acknowledges the
social reality of marijuana use 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 remains in the hands of organized crime,
consumers will continue to come into contact with sellers of hard drugs.

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

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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