Pubdate: Wed, 16 Jul 2014
Source: Las Vegas Sun (NV)
Copyright: 2014 Las Vegas Sun, Inc
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding Erin Ryan's July 7 column, "A child of the '80s
grapples with the failures of the =80'war on drugs,'" the drug war
is largely a war on marijuana consumers. Marijuana is by far the most
popular illicit drug. In 2012, there were 749,825 marijuana arrests in
the United States, almost 90 percent for simple possession.

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 United States 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, but throughout the nation, it's
time to stop the pointless arrests and instead tax legal marijuana.

Robert Sharpe, Washington

The writer is a policy analyst with Common Sense for Drug
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