Pubdate: Sat, 13 Nov 2010
Source: Anniston Star (AL)
Copyright: 2010 Consolidated Publishing
Author: Anders Froehlich


Re "Effort to legalize marijuana bad news in U.S." (Oct. 15):

In 1933, Congress repealed the Volstead Act, ending federal alcohol
prohibition. America did not do this due to a belief that alcohol was
harmless, but rather due to the recognition that prohibition caused
greater harm.

Likewise, most of those working for the repeal of marijuana
prohibition (including numerous law enforcement and medical
professionals) do not believe that marijuana is harmless, but rather
that the effects of prohibition are worse. Since 1970, over 15 million
Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges. Meanwhile,
according to the National Institutes of Drug Abuse, the percentage of
12th graders rating marijuana as "easy or fairly easy to get" has
never fallen below 80 since surveys began in 1975.

Those who believe prohibition is the only way to reduce the harm
resulting from marijuana use would do well to look at teen tobacco use
trends. Since 1975, the percentage of teens who smoke regularly has
fallen steadily from 40 percent to just under 20 percent. This was
accomplished without SWAT raids, arrests or fines of adult smokers but
by bans on tobacco advertising and an intensive campaign to educate
teens about the harm of cigarette use.

Prohibition isn't working, so it's time to try regulation.

Anders Froehlich

San Rafael, Calif.
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