Pubdate: Sun, 17 Aug 2014
Source: Tampa Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2014 The Tribune Co.
Author: Robert Sharpe
Section: Views
Page 2


Regarding your Aug. 10 editorial ("Do voters want to unshackle pot?" 
Our Views): So-called medical marijuana abuses have beneficial side 
effects. In California, anyone who wants a medical marijuana 
recommendation can get one. The recommendation allows consumers to 
purchase locally grown marijuana of known quality and safety from 
dispensaries that generate tax revenue. Is it somehow preferable that 
Florida consumers purchase untaxed, unregulated and potentially 
unsafe marijuana from criminals? As long as there is a 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, ARUNGTON, VIRGINIA The writer Is policy analyst for 
Common Sense for Drug Policy, based In Washington, D.C.
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