Pubdate: Mon, 22 Nov 2010
Source: Anniston Star (AL)
Copyright: 2010 Consolidated Publishing
Author: Robert Sharpe


Re "Effort to legalize marijuana bad news in U.S." (Op-ed article, Oct. 15):

The drug war is largely a war on marijuana smokers. In 2009, there 
were 858,405 marijuana arrests in the United States, almost 90 
percent of them 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 a lower 
rate of use. The United 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 prohibition.

Robert Sharpe

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C. 
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