Pubdate: Tue, 19 Jan 2010
Source: Houston Press (TX)
Copyright: 2010 Village Voice Media
Author: Robert Sharpe


Is the War on Marijuana a Waste of Precious Resources?

Waste of resources: The drug war is largely a war on marijuana smokers
["Weed Takes Root," by David Ferrell, January 7]. In 2008, there were
847,863 marijuana arrests in the U.S., almost 90 percent for simple
possession. At a time when state and local governments are laying off
police, firefighters and teachers, this country continues to spend
enormous public resources criminalizing Americans who prefer marijuana
to martinis. The end result of this ongoing culture war is not
necessarily lower rates of use.

The U.S. has higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where
marijuana is legally available. Decriminalization is a long overdue
step in the right direction. Taxing and regulating marijuana would
render the drug war obsolete. As long as organized crime controls
marijuana distribution, consumers will continue to come into contact
with sellers of hard drugs like cocaine and heroin. This "gateway" is
a direct result of marijuana prohibition.

Robert Sharpe

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C. 
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