Pubdate: Sun, 22 Jan 2012
Source: Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)
Copyright: 2012 Lexington Herald-Leader
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding Jonathan Miller's Jan. 15 op-ed, 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

Policy Analyst,Common Sense for Drug Policy

Arlington, Va.
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