Pubdate: Thu, 09 May 2013
Source: Tucson Weekly (AZ)
Copyright: 2013 Tucson Weekly
Author: Robert Sharpe


Arizona has proceeded with caution in implementing the state's 
medical marijuana program ("The Numbers Game," May 2). California is 
often held up as an example of what not to do. It's true that anyone 
in California who wants a medical marijuana recommendation can get 
one. The recommendation allows consumers to purchase locally grown 
marijuana of known quality and safety from dispensaries that generate 
tax revenue. That's a good thing. So-called medical marijuana abuses 
are not to be feared. It's the status quo that's scary.

As long as there is a demand for marijuana, there will be a supply. 
Is it somehow preferable that consumers purchase untaxed, unregulated 
and potentially unsafe marijuana from criminals? Marijuana 
prohibition keeps violent drug cartels in business. When cartels 
control marijuana distribution, consumers are exposed to illegal 
cocaine, meth and heroin. This "gateway" is a direct result of 
marijuana's illegal status. Marijuana may be relatively harmless, but 
marijuana prohibition is deadly.

Robert Sharpe, MPA

Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy
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