Pubdate: Tue, 08 Aug 2000
Source: Huntsville Times (AL)
Copyright: 2000 The Huntsville Times
Contact:  P.O. Box 1487, Huntsville, AL 35807
Fax: (256) 532-4213
Author: Robert Sharpe


It should come as no surprise that Alabama residents are growing
marijuana. Marijuana laws create financial incentives that make an
easily grown weed literally worth its weight in gold.

The "dopers" referred to in The Times Aug. 1 article will not likely
let the drought get in the way of the obscene profits to be made. The
Alabama Bureau of Investigation's eradication efforts make growing
more profitable by driving the price up.

Marijuana prohibition is no more effective than alcohol prohibition
was at preventing use. And like Prohibition in the early 1900s, the
societal harm caused by the unintended consequences is tremendous.

The manner in which drug laws finance organized crime receives a great
deal of press coverage, yet it is the threat these laws pose to
children that necessitates marijuana legalization. While a liquor
store will refuse to sell alcohol to a minor to avoid losing its
license, a drug dealer will sell to anyone.

Keep in mind that marijuana is the most popular illicit drug and,
because of its black market status, provides the contacts that
introduce youth to harder drugs. Current drug policy is effectively a
gateway policy.

Adults are not spared either. Imagine how many lives would be ruined
if every beer drinker were thrown in jail and given a permanent
criminal record.

I fail to see why marijuana smokers should be singled out for
punishment. The plant is arguably safer than alcohol.

As far as I can tell the only reason for not taxing and regulating the
sale of marijuana to adults is that doing so would derail the drug war
gravy train.

Robert Sharpe Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Washington, D.C.
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