Pubdate: Wed, 10 Nov 2010
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2010 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding your Oct. 20 editorial ("Debunking false fears about
marijuana"), there is a big difference between condoning marijuana use
and protecting children from drugs.

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
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 marijuana 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, MPA

Policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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