Pubdate: Wed, 2 Jul 2008
Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
Copyright: 2008 Star-Telegram Operating, Ltd.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding Tom Pauken's commentary (See: "Time to do
something -- again -- about drug use in this country,"
June 29), the drug war is in large part a war on marijuana,
by far the most popular illicit drug. The illegal status of
marijuana may serve to glamorize it among rebellious youth.
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 those citizens who prefer
marijuana to martinis.

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 only clear winners in the war on marijuana are drug cartels and
shameless tough-on-drugs politicians. The big losers are the taxpayers
who have been deluded into believing big government is the appropriate
response to nontraditional consensual vices.

Robert Sharpe, policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy,
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