Pubdate: Thu, 26 Apr 2012
Source: Daily News, The (Newburyport, MA)
Copyright: 2012 Eagle Tribune Publishing Company
Author: Robert Sharpe


To the editor:

Regarding John Burciaga's thoughtful April 18 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 Common Sense for Drug Policy Washington, DC 20012
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom