Pubdate: Thu, 30 Oct 2008
Source: Sacramento News & Review (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Chico Community Publishing, Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Re "Pot harvest time" (SN&R Editorial, October 16):

Your editorial was right on target. Marijuana prohibition has done
little other than finance organized crime and violence. Punitive
marijuana laws have little, if any, deterrent value. Lifetime use of
marijuana is higher in the United States than any European country,
yet America is one of the few Western countries that punish 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 and demand causes big money to grow on
little trees. The only clear winners in the war on marijuana are drug
cartels and shameless tough-on-drugs politicians who deliberately
confuse drug prohibition's collateral damage with a relatively
harmless plant. The big losers in this battle are the taxpayers
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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