Pubdate: Tue, 06 Apr 2010
Source: Telegraph, The (Nashua, NH)
Copyright: 2010 Telegraph Publishing Company
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding your March 30 editorial, "Governor too quick to snuff out
pot bill," the drug war is largely a war on marijuana smokers.  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 heroin.  This "gateway"
is a direct result of marijuana prohibition.

Robert Sharpe, Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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