Pubdate: Tue, 09 Jun 2009
Source: East Bay Express (CA)
Copyright: 2009 East Bay Express
Author: Robert Sharpe


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 US has higher rates 
of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally 
available to adults over 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.

The following Virginia Law Review article provides a good overview of 
the cultural roots of marijuana legislation:

United Nations drug stats:

July 2008 World Health Organization survey study:

A comparative analysis of US vs. European rates of drug use can be found at: MTF is funded 
with US government grants

Comparative analysis of US vs. Dutch rates of drug use:

Robert Sharpe, policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington, DC
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom