Pubdate: Wed, 27 Apr 2011
Source: News Tribune, The (Tacoma, WA)
Copyright: 2011 Robert Sharpe
Author: Robert Sharpe


Re: "Battle over medical marijuana makes no sense" (Your Voice, 4-26).

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, 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 U.S. 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 P. Sharpe, Arlington, Va.

(Sharpe is a policy analyst with Common Sense for Drug Policy.) 
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