Pubdate: Tue, 09 Aug 2011
Source: News-Sentinel, The (Fort  Wayne, IN)
Copyright: 2011 The News-Sentinel
Author: Robert Sharpe


Re: Your Aug 1. editorial, "Change the law when the people are ready for it."

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 Sharpe,

MPA policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy Washington, D.C.
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