Pubdate: Thu, 21 May 2009
Source: Rockford Register Star (IL)
Copyright: 2009 GateHouse Media, Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe


In response to Rockton police Chief Stephen Dickson's op-ed: If 
health outcomes determined drug laws instead of cultural norms, 
marijuana would be legal.

Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose 
death, nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco.

Like any drug, marijuana can be harmful if abused, but jail cells are 
inappropriate as health interventions and ineffective as deterrents.

The first marijuana laws were enacted in response to Mexican 
immigration during the early 1900s, despite opposition from the 
American Medical Association.

Dire warnings that marijuana inspires homicidal rages have been 
counterproductive at best. White Americans did not even begin to 
smoke pot until a soon-to-be entrenched federal bureaucracy began 
funding reefer madness propaganda.

Marijuana prohibition has failed miserably. The U.S. has higher rates 
of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally 
available to those older than 18.

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.

- -- Robert Sharpe, policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington, D.C.
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