Pubdate: Thu, 18 Nov 2010
Source: Daily Pilot (Costa Mesa, CA)
Copyright: 2010 Daily Pilot
Author: Robert Sharpe


There is a big difference between condoning marijuana use and
protecting children from drugs ("It's A Gray Area: It always comes
back to values," Nov. 14). Decriminalization acknowledges the social
reality of marijuana and frees users from the stigma of
life-shattering criminal records. What's really needed is a regulated
market with age controls.

Separating the hard and soft drug markets is critical. As long as
organized crime controls marijuana distribution, consumers will
continue to come into contact with sellers of hard drugs like cocaine,
meth and heroin. This "gateway" is a direct result of marijuana

Marijuana prohibition has failed. The U.S. has higher rates of
marijuana use than the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally
available. It makes no sense to waste tax dollars on failed policies
that finance organized crime and facilitate the use of hard drugs.
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

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.