Pubdate: Wed, 11 Mar 2009
Source: Shoreline Lake Forest Park Enterprise (WA)
Copyright: 2009 The Enterprise Newspapers
Author: Robert Sharpe


Marijuana prohibition is a complete failure. The U.S. has higher 
rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where marijuana is 
legally available to adults over 18. This failure is not for lack of 
trying. There were 872,720 marijuana arrests in 2007, the vast 
majority for simple possession. If health outcomes determined drug 
laws instead of cultural norms, marijuana would be legal. As an 
admitted former pot smoker, President Obama no doubt knows that 
marijuana is relatively harmless. Will Obama bring change to 
marijuana laws? There is a strong public health rationale for doing 
so. Marijuana prohibition opens a gateway to hard drugs. As long as 
organized crime controls marijuana distribution, consumers will 
continue to come into contact with addictive drugs like 
methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin. Marijuana may be relatively 
harmless, but marijuana prohibition is deadly.

Robert Sharpe

Common Sense for Drug Policy Washington, DC
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