Pubdate: Sun, 25 Oct 2009
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2009 The Washington Post Company
Author: Tony Newman


Kudos to President Obama for following through on his campaign promise
to stop harassing medical marijuana patients and their caregivers who
abide by their states' marijuana laws ["U.S. eases stance on medical
marijuana," front page, Oct. 20]. The Bush and Clinton
administrations' war on sick patients was the most outrageous aspect
of our nation's costly and ineffective marijuana policies.

While allowing sick patients to have access to their medicine is a
no-brainer -- supported by more than 70 percent of Americans -- it is
also time for us to have a serious debate on the merits of marijuana
prohibition in general.

Every year, more than 750,000 people are arrested in the United States
for marijuana possession. We are wasting billions of dollars and
locking up thousands of otherwise law-abiding, nonviolent people. If,
instead, we treated marijuana like alcohol and taxed and regulated it,
cash-strapped states could make billions.

Tony Newman, New York

The writer is director of media relations with the Drug Policy
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