Pubdate: Thu, 26 Nov 2009
Source: Boulder Weekly (CO)
Copyright: 2009 Boulder Weekly
Author: Robert Sharpe

Jail is not a pot deterrent

(Re: "Medical association: Reconsider pot," In Case You Missed It, 
Nov. 19.) While I'm thrilled that the American Medical Association 
has finally urged the federal government to rethink its 
prohibitionist stance on medical marijuana, I can't help but wonder 
about their disclaimer, i.e., that this should not be not be viewed 
as an endorsement of marijuana legalization.

Does the American Medication Association believe that jail cells and 
criminal records are appropriate as health interventions? They 
certainly don't work as deterrents. In 2008, there were 847,863 
marijuana arrests in the U.S., almost 90 percent for simple 
possession. The end result of this ongoing culture war is not 
necessarily lower rates of use. The U.S. has higher rates of 
marijuana use than the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available.

At a time when state and local governments are laying off police, 
firefighters and teachers, this country continues to spend enormous 
public resources criminalizing Americans who prefer marijuana to martinis.

Robert Sharpe/Arlington, Va.
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