Pubdate: Tue, 14 Jul 2009
Source: Salinas Californian, The (CA)
Copyright: 2009 The Salinas Californian
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding Norm Morris' July 3 column, 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. Marijuana can 
be harmful if abused, but jail cells are inappropriate as health 
interventions and ineffective as deterrents. Advertisement

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 as a deterrent. The U.S. 
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 
the drug war's collateral damage with a relatively harmless plant.

Robert Sharpe

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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