Pubdate: Fri, 27 Jan 2012
Source: Daily Camera (Boulder, CO)
Copyright: 2012 Robert Sharpe.
Author: Robert Sharpe


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 lower rates of use.

The U.S. has higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, 
where marijuana is legally available. Medical marijuana is a 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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