Pubdate: Sat, 27 Feb 2016
Source: Tampa Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2016 The Tribune Co.
Author: John G. Chase


Regarding "Sanctioning drug use in Tampa" (Our Views, Feb. 20): The 
Tribune gives too much credit to the drug and too little to the 
process (of prohibition). It is impossible to stamp out anything that 
millions of Americans want, and trying harder causes more societal 
damage than it prevents. Our elected leaders are torn between wanting 
to ease off on possession arrests, but not so much that marijuana use 
increases. It can't be done, and it's better to know that now.

The best policy is to legalize and regulate. It will be upsetting at 
first, but it is the best way out. Apply the tobacco model. The 
federal government's own data shows that use of tobacco (cigarettes) 
among 12th-graders has plummeted by two-thirds in the past 14 years, 
to 10 percent, while marijuana use essentially has been constant at 
20 percent. That database also shows that 12th-graders report that 
marijuana has been harder to get almost every year since 1996, when 
states began to legalize and regulate.

All that evidence is found in the highly respected annual reports of 
the "Monitoring the Future" project funded by NIDA (National 
Institute of Drug Abuse).

John G. Chase Palm Harbor
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom