Pubdate: Wed, 01 Jun 2011
Source: Hartford Courant (CT)
Copyright: 2011 The Hartford Courant
Author: Robert Sharpe, Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy


Regarding Tom Condon's May 29 Place column ["Keeping Drugs Illegal
Costs Society Dearly"], the drug war is largely a war on marijuana

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

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 Sharpe

Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy
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