Pubdate: Sun, 27 May 2012
Source: Record, The (Hackensack, NJ)
Copyright: 2012 North Jersey Media Group Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding "Time to exhale" (Editorials, May 20):

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 United States 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

Arlington, Va., May 21

The writer is a policy analyst with Common Sense for Drug Policy, a 
Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group.
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