Pubdate: Thu, 05 Jun 2014
Source: Roanoke Times (VA)
Copyright: 2014 Roanoke Times
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding Reihan Salam's June 1 commentary ("Bring back Prohibition"):

Ending marijuana prohibition makes more sense than revisiting alcohol 
prohibition. States with medical marijuana access have seen a drop in 
fatal car accidents. Researchers believe that consumers are 
substituting marijuana for alcohol, leading to a reduction in drunken 
driving deaths. Marijuana is easily safer than alcohol, and the 
substitution effect is well documented.

The days when shameless politicians can get away with confusing the 
drug war's tremendous collateral damage with a comparatively harmless 
plant are coming to an end. If the goal of marijuana prohibition is 
to subsidize violent drug cartels, prohibition is a grand success. 
The drug war distorts supply-and-demand dynamics so that big money 
grows on little trees. If the goal is to deter use, marijuana 
prohibition is a catastrophic failure. The U.S. has almost double the 
rate of marijuana use as the Netherlands where marijuana is legal.

The criminalization of Americans who prefer marijuana to martinis has 
no basis in science. The war on marijuana consumers is a failed 
cultural inquisition, not an evidence-based public health campaign. 
Not just in Colorado and Washington state but throughout the nation, 
it's time to stop pointless arrests and instead tax legal marijuana.

ROBERT SHARPE Policy Analyst Common Sense for Drug Policy WASHINGTON, D.C.
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