Pubdate: Sat, 02 Jun 2012
Source: Herald-Dispatch, The (Huntington, WV)
Copyright: 2012 The Herald-Dispatch
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding Diane Mufson's thoughtful May 23 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
public resources criminalizing Americans who prefer marijuana to
martinis. The end result of this culture war is not lower rates of

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

Policy analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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