Pubdate: Sun, 12 Aug 2012
Source: Japan Times (Japan)
Copyright: 2012 The Japan Times
Author: Robert Sharpe


Arlington, Virginia

Regarding the Aug. 7 article "Curbs afoot as narcotic quasi-legal
herbs slip through regulatory cracks": The increased use of synthetic
cannabinoids is an unintended side effect of the war on natural
marijuana. Consumers are turning to potentially toxic drugs made in
China and sold as research chemicals before they are repackaged as
legal incense.

Expanding the drug war will only increase criminal justice costs
during an economic downturn. Chemists will tweak formulas to stay one
step ahead of the law and two steps ahead of the drug tests. New
versions of synthetic drugs won't be safer. Misguided efforts to
protect children from drugs are putting children at risk.

A better solution is to legalize organic marijuana.

Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose
death. Nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco. Taxing
and regulating marijuana would eliminate the demand for synthetic
marijuana, provide consumers with a comparatively safe alternative to
alcohol and close the gateway to hard drugs by taking marijuana
distribution out of the hands of organized crime. Marijuana may be
relatively harmless, but marijuana prohibition is deadly.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer's
own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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