Pubdate: Fri, 30 Jul 2010 Source: Portland Press Herald (ME) Copyright: 2010 Robert Sharpe Contact: http://www.pressherald.com/readerservices/Send_a_Letter_to_the_Editor.html Website: http://www.pressherald.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/744 Author: Robert Sharpe Referenced: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v10/n577/a03.html IF MARIJUANA WERE LEGAL, ALL PRESSURE WOULD BE OFF Regarding your July 21 editorial ("Let's hear the bid for medical marijuana"), 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 children. Throwing more money at the drug problem is no solution. Attempts to limit the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains constant only increase the profitability of drug trafficking. For addictive drugs like heroin, a spike in street prices leads desperate 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 is controlled by organized crime, consumers will continue to come into contact with hard drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin. This "gateway" is a direct result of marijuana prohibition. Robert Sharpe, MPA Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy Washington, D.C.