Pubdate: Sun, 25 Sep 2011
Source: Herald, The (Everett, WA)
Copyright: 2011 Robert Sharpe
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding David Sirota's Sept. 18 online column, "University of 
Hypocrisy": The drug war is largely a war on marijuana smokers. In 
2010, there were 853,839 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 Common Sense for Drug Policy Washington, D.C.
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