Pubdate: Sun, 05 Oct 2014
Source: Times, The (Shreveport, LA)
Copyright: 2014 The Times
Author: Serome McCollom


Congressman John Fleming does not believe in marijuana being legal.
During a recent conference when asked to compare marijuana with
alcohol, he said alcohol has been accepted by cultures for thousands
of years while marijuana hasn't.

While that is generally true, so what? If marijuana is safer than
alcohol and causes less harm for the individual and society, which it
clearly does, than it is illogical to keep marijuana illegal with
alcohol being legal.

I don't care about what tradition has been. If someone is right on a
public policy, than he/she doesn't need to bring up tradition. Their
argument should stand on its' own merits.

Rep. Fleming also stated, "If you and I accept the fact that alcohol
is a problem and a danger, is it logical to say, 'Well, instead of
having one problem, that we should have two problems?' Why add a
second one if one is already causing problems?"

Marijuana prohibition though causes such harms as people killed in the
dark of night in their houses by SWAT raids that get the wrong house
or police seizing someone's hard earned savings (with no criminal
charges ever fired), because the money might have come from marijuana
sales. Key word, might.

Yes, we don't want teens using marijuana, but rates of usage among
teens are lower in the Netherlands (where it is semi-legal) than in
the U.S. One reason is that it is less available on a black market.
Remember, drug dealers don't check IDs, but regulated markets do.

I don't recommend marijuana usage, but we must be realists when it
comes to it. I am glad there are groups like the Marijuana Policy
Project to help curb the war on this plant.

- - Jerome McCollom

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