Pubdate: Thu, 07 May 2009
Source: Tribune Review (Pittsburgh, PA)
Copyright: 2009 Tribune-Review Publishing Co.
Author: Robert Sharpe


In response to Mike Seate's column "Jailing peaceful druggies big 
waste" (April 21 and Marijuana prohibition has done 
little other than burden millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens 
with criminal records. The University of Michigan's Monitoring the 
Future Study reports that lifetime use of marijuana is higher in the 
United States than in any European country, yet America is one of the 
few Western countries that uses its criminal justice system to punish 
citizens who prefer marijuana to martinis.

The short-term health effects of marijuana are inconsequential 
compared with 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've built careers confusing 
drug prohibition's collateral damage with a relatively harmless 
plant. The big losers are the taxpayers who have been deluded into 
believing big government is the appropriate response to 
nontraditional consensual vices.

Robert Sharpe

Washington, D.C.

The writer is a policy analyst for Common Sense for Drug Policy, a 
nonprofit advocacy organization (
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