Pubdate: Tue, 28 Feb 2012
Source: Sun Chronicle (Attleboro, MA)
Copyright: 2012 Sun Chronicle
Author: Robert Sharpe, Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy.


Regarding James Deblois' Feb. 24 op-ed, if health outcomes determined
drug laws instead of cultural norms, marijuana would be fully legal
and there would be no medical marijuana debate.

Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose
death, nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco.
Marijuana can be harmful if abused, but jail cells are inappropriate
as health interventions and ineffective as deterrents.

The first marijuana laws were enacted in response to Mexican migration
in the early 1900s, despite opposition from the American Medical

Dire warnings that marijuana inspires homicidal rages have been
counterproductive at best. White Americans did not even begin to smoke
pot until a soon-to-be entrenched federal bureaucracy began funding
reefer madness propaganda.

Decriminalization as approved by Massachusetts voters in 2008
acknowledges the social reality of marijuana and frees users from
criminal records.

What's really needed is a regulated market with age controls. As long
as organized crime controls marijuana distribution, consumers will
continue to come into contact with sellers of hard drugs like cocaine
and heroin.

This "gateway" is a direct result of marijuana prohibition. Marijuana
may be relatively harmless, but marijuana prohibition is deadly.

Robert Sharpe

Washington, D.C.

THE WRITER is a policy analyst for Common Sense for Drug Policy.
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MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.