Pubdate: Fri, 8 Apr 2011
Source: Bucks County Courier Times (PA)
Copyright: 2011 Calkins Newspapers, Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding Ronald Elgart's April guest opinion, 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 for simple possession.
At a time when state and local governments are laying off police
officers, 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 lower
rates 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

Robert Sharpe, policy analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy