Pubdate: Wed, 09 May 2012
Source: Taunton Daily Gazette (MA)
Copyright: 2012 Taunton Daily Gazette
Author: Robert Sharpe


In response to the May 4 Our View, "Local pot laws should respect will
of voters," government officials seeking to undermine the will of
Massachusetts voters should not delude themselves into believing they
are somehow protecting children from drugs.

Decriminalization as approved by Massachusetts voters in 2008
acknowledges the social reality of marijuana and frees users of all
ages from the stigma of life-shattering criminal records.

What's really needed is a regulated market with enforceable age
controls. Separating the hard and soft drug markets is critical. 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
prohibition has failed. The United States has higher rates of
marijuana use than the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available.

It makes no sense to waste tax dollars on prohibitions that finance
organized crime and facilitate hard drug use. Drug policy reform may
send the wrong message to children, but I like to think the children
are more important than the message.

Robert Sharpe, MPA
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