Pubdate: Tue, 19 May 2009
Source: Reno Gazette-Journal (NV)
Copyright: 2009 Reno Gazette-Journal
Author: Neal Levine


Margaret Salas has every right to dislike marijuana [Letters, May 12],
but laws should be based on facts.

She dismisses medical marijuana for pain control despite the fact that
several recent studies have verified that marijuana is safe and
effective for this purpose. And drug companies are indeed researching

Plenty of research has been done on marijuana, consistently finding
that its health risks are much less than legal drugs like tobacco and
alcohol. That's why every independent expert commission ever to
examine the issue in the U.S. and abroad has concluded that there is
no justification for arresting people simply for possessing marijuana.

Most important, our current laws give us the worst of all possible
worlds: a drug so widely available that 85 percent of high school
seniors report it is "easy to get," but without the responsible
controls we have for alcohol and tobacco. Drug dealers do not ask
minors for identification, and they do not pay taxes.

My question to Ms. Salas is this: If you think marijuana is bad, why
would we not try and regulate it, place sensible safeguards on its
sale and collect taxes? Prohibition has failed, and it's time for a
new approach.

Neal Levine, director

Marijuana Policy Project of Nevada

Las Vegas
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