Pubdate: Thu, 14 Oct 2010
Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)
Copyright: 2010 Chicago Tribune Company
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding Steve Chapman's Oct. 10 column, the drug war is largely a
war on marijuana smokers. In 2009, there were 858,405
marijuana-related arrests in the United States; almost 90 percent of
those were 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 Unites States 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 distribution, marijuana consumers will come into
contact with sellers of hard drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine and
heroin. This "gateway" is a direct result of marijuana

Robert Sharpe, Washington, D.C.
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