Pubdate: Mon, 21 Jul 2014
Source: Irish Times, The (Ireland)
Copyright: 2014 The Irish Times
Author: Robert Sharpe


Sir, - Further to Simon Carswell's "The highs and lows of legalised 
marijuana" (July 12th), which examined the legal status of the drug in 
the US, it is clear that the days when politicians could 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 subsidise violent drug cartels and open a 
gateway to the harder drugs they sell, 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.

Consider the experience of the former land of the free and current 
record holder in citizens incarcerated. The United States has almost 
double the rate of marijuana use as the Netherlands, where marijuana is 
legally available. The criminalisation of people 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. Ireland should follow the lead of Colorado and Washington 
state. It's time to stop the pointless arrests and instead tax legal 
marijuana. - Yours, etc,

Robert Sharpe,

Common Sense for Drug Policy,
PO Box 59181,
Washington, DC.
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