Pubdate: Thu, 30 Jan 2014
Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)
Copyright: 2014 Houston Chronicle Publishing Company Division, Hearst Newspaper
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding your thoughtful editorial "Growing up" (Page B8, Friday), 
there is a big difference between condoning marijuana use and 
protecting children from drugs.

Decriminalization acknowledges the social reality of marijuana and 
spares users criminal records. What's really needed is a legally 
regulated market with age controls. Separating the hard and soft drug 
markets is critical.

As long as violent drug cartels control marijuana distribution, 
consumers will come into contact with sellers of hard drugs like 
cocaine, meth and heroin. This "gateway" is a direct result of 
marijuana prohibition.

Taxing and regulating marijuana may send the wrong message to 
children, but I like to think the children are more important than the message.

Robert Sharpe, policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington, D.C.
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