Pubdate: Wed, 09 Apr 2014
Source: Orlando Sentinel (FL)
Copyright: 2014 Orlando Sentinel
Note: Rarely prints out-of-state LTEs.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding Douglas MacKinnon's Sunday op-ed, ("Medical marijuana on 
the ballot fraught with danger"), not only should medical marijuana 
be made available to patients in need, but legal and adult 
recreational use should be regulated. Drug policies modeled after 
alcohol prohibition have given rise to a youth-oriented black market. 
Illegal drug dealers don't ID for age, but they do recruit minors 
immune to adult sentences.

Throwing more money at the problem is no solution. Attempts to limit 
the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains constant only 
increase the profitability of drug trafficking. For addictive drugs 
like heroin, a spike in street prices leads desperate addicts to 
increase criminal activity to feed desperate habits. The drug war 
doesn't fight crime, it fuels crime.

Taxing and regulating marijuana, the most popular illicit drug, is a 
cost-effective alternative to never-ending drug war. As long as 
marijuana distribution is controlled by organized crime, consumers 
will continue to come into contact with hard drugs like 
methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin. This "gateway" is a direct 
result of marijuana prohibition.

Robert Sharpe Common Sense for Drug Policy, Wash., DC
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