Pubdate: Sun, 10 Jun 2012
Source: Press Democrat, The (Santa Rosa, CA)
Copyright: 2012 The Press Democrat
Author: Robert Sharpe


EDITOR: 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

Marijuana can be harmful, but jail cells are inappropriate as health
interventions and ineffective as deterrents.

The first marijuana laws were enacted in response to Mexican
immigration during the early 1900s, despite opposition from the
American Medical Association. Dire warnings that marijuana inspires
homicidal rages have been counterproductive. White Americans did not
even begin to smoke pot until a soon-to-be entrenched federal
bureaucracy began funding "reefer madness" propaganda.

Marijuana prohibition has failed miserably as a deterrent. The United
States has higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where
marijuana is legally available to adults. The only clear winners in
the war on marijuana are drug cartels and shameless tough-on-drugs
politicians who've built careers confusing the drug war's collateral
damage with a relatively harmless plant.


Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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