Pubdate: Sun, 28 Dec 2014
Source: Standard-Speaker (Hazleton, PA)
Copyright: 2014 The Standard-Speaker
Author: Robert Sharpe
Page: C4


Editor, Regarding your Dec. 15 op-ed, not only should medical 
marijuana be made available to patients in need, but adult 
recreational use should be legal and regulated.

Drug policies modeled after alcohol prohibition have given rise to a 
youth oriented black market. Illegal drug dealers don't ID for age, 
but they do recruit minors immune to adult sentences. So much for 
protecting the children.

Throwing more money at the problem is no solution. Attempts to limit 
the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains constant only 
increase the profitability of drug trafficking. For addictive drugs 
like heroin, a spike in street prices leads desperate addicts to 
increase criminal activity to feed desperate habits. The drug war 
doesn't fight crime, it fuels crime.

Taxing and regulating marijuana, the most popular illicit drug, is a 
cost effective alternative to a never-ending drug war. The only 
beneficiaries of the current approach are Mexican drug cartels. As 
long as marijuana distribution is controlled by cartels, consumers 
will come into contact with hard drugs like meth, cocaine and heroin. 
Marijuana prohibition is a gateway drug policy.

Robert Sharpe, policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington, D.C.
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