Pubdate: Fri, 12 Apr 2013
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2013 The Washington Post Company
Author: Sam Tracy


In his April 5 Washington Forum commentary, "Republicans should just 
say no," Peter Wehner advised the Republican Party to base its 
comeback on opposition to marijuana reform. If the GOP has any desire 
to regain control of the White House, it should take the opposite approach.

Public support for marijuana legalization has increased dramatically 
in the past decade, and a Pew Research Center poll released last week 
showed for the first time a majority of Americans favoring 
legalization. In all likelihood, this trend is only going to 
continue, perhaps even accelerating once the public sees that the sky 
doesn't fall in Colorado and Washington state.

As justification for his proposal, Mr. Wehner lamented the decline of 
support for regulating morality. But the same Pew poll also showed 
that fewer Americans consider marijuana use to be a moral issue: Less 
than a third now believe that smoking the drug is morally wrong.

If the GOP is interested in regaining some respect from the American 
people, it must support marijuana legalization, not stand in its way.

One argument for the legalization of marijuana, and of drugs in 
general, was conspicuously not addressed by Peter Wehner: the deaths 
related to the illegal traffic of drugs and the enormous wealth and 
power accumulated by drug kingpins and the cartels. This violence 
affects not only our neighbors to the south but also the United 
States. One could say that we have a choice between two evils, but 
the evil brought about by the traffic of illegal substances is surely 
far greater than that from decriminalization, which would subject 
users to the laws and controls of the state. It is more immoral not 
to legalize drugs than to stand by and watch the havoc that the 
present situation has brought.

Sam Tracy, Washington The writer is chairman of the board at Students 
for Sensible Drug Policy.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom