Pubdate: Mon, 21 Sep 2009
Source: News Tribune, The (Tacoma, WA)
Copyright: 2009 Tacoma News Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Re: "Dope dispensaries? Not here, please" (editorial, 9-8).

Not only should medical marijuana be made available to patients in
need, but adult recreational use should be regulated. Drug policies
modeled after alcohol prohibition have given rise to a youth-oriented
black market. Illegal drug dealers don't ID for age, but they do
recruit minors immune to adult sentences. So much for protecting the

Throwing more money at the problem is no solution. Attempts to limit
the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains constant only
increase the profitability of trafficking. For addictive drugs like
heroin, a spike in street prices leads addicts to increase criminal
activity to feed desperate habits.

The drug war doesn't fight crime, it fuels crime. Taxing and
regulating marijuana, the most popular illicit drug, is a
cost-effective alternative to never-ending drug war. As long as
marijuana distribution remains in the hands of organized crime,
consumers will continue to come into contact with hard drugs like
methamphetamine. This "gateway" is a direct result of marijuana

Given that marijuana is arguably safer than alcohol (the plant has
never been shown to cause an overdose death) it makes no sense to
waste tax dollars on failed policies that finance organized crime and
facilitate hard drug use.

Drug policy reform may send the wrong message to children, but I like
to think the children are more important than the message.

ROBERT SHARPE; Arlington, Va.

(Sharpe is a policy analyst with Common Sense for Drug Policy in 
Washington, D.C.) 
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