Pubdate: Fri, 25 Jun 2010
Source: McCook Daily Gazette (NE)
Copyright: 2010 Robert Sharpe
Author: Robert Sharpe


Dear Editor,

For non-violent offenders with chronic substance abuse problems, drug
treatment is a cost-effective alternative to incarceration.

Unfortunately, drug courts are being misused for political purposes.
Record numbers of citizens arrested for marijuana possession have been
forced into treatment by the criminal justice system. The resulting
distortion of treatment statistics is used by shameless drug warriors
to claim that marijuana is "addictive."

Zero tolerance drug laws do not distinguish between occasional use and
chronic abuse.

The coercion of Americans who prefer marijuana to martinis into
taxpayer-funded treatment centers says a lot about government
priorities, but absolutely nothing about the relative harms of marijuana.

For an objective take on marijuana, look to Canada. After months of
research, the Canadian Senate concluded in 2002 that marijuana is
relatively harmless, marijuana prohibition contributes to organized
crime, and law enforcement efforts have little impact on patterns of

In the words of Senator Pierre Claude Nolin, "Scientific evidence
overwhelmingly indicates that cannabis is substantially less harmful
than alcohol and should be treated not as a criminal issue but as a
social and public health issue."

Sincerely, Robert Sharpe, MPA

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, DC 
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