Pubdate: Wed, 18 Jun 2014
Source: Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ)
Copyright: 2014 Newark Morning Ledger Co
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding Paula Joana's June 15 op-ed ("N.J.'s strict medical 
marijuana laws cost my daughter her life"), the only people protected 
by New Jersey's overly stringent medical marijuana program are drug 
cartel kingpins. By restricting access to medical marijuana, the 
state is protecting cartel market share.

So-called medical marijuana abuses have beneficial side effects. In 
California, anyone who wants a medical marijuana recommendation can 
get one. The recommendation allows marijuana consumers to purchase 
locally grown marijuana of known quality and safety from dispensaries 
that generate tax revenue.

Is it somehow preferable that New Jersey consumers purchase untaxed, 
unregulated and potentially unsafe marijuana from criminals? As long 
as there is demand for marijuana, there will be a supply. Marijuana 
prohibition keeps violent drug cartels in business.

When drug cartels control marijuana distribution, consumers are 
exposed to illegal cocaine, meth and heroin. This "gateway" is a 
direct result of the marijuana plant's illegal status.

Marijuana may be relatively harmless, but marijuana prohibition is deadly.

Robert Sharpe, policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy
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