Pubdate: Sun, 01 Apr 2001
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2001 News World Communications, Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Parents who fear legal marijuana might want to consider that kids currently 
have an easier time buying pot than beer ("Parents say legal reefer is 
madness," Metropolitan, March 29). Drug policies designed to protect 
children have given rise to a youth-oriented black market. Illegal drug 
dealers don't check identification for age. As the most popular illicit 
drug, marijuana provides the black market contacts that introduce users to 
hard drugs like heroin. This "gateway" is the direct result of a 
fundamentally flawed policy. Given that marijuana is arguably safer than 
legal alcohol, it makes no sense to waste scarce resources on policies that 
finance organized crime and needlessly expose children to dangerous drugs. 
As for medical marijuana, doctors should decide what's best for patients, 
not Supreme Court justices.

If health outcomes determined drug laws instead of cultural norms, alcohol 
would be illegal and marijuana would not.

Robert Sharpe Program, Officer, The Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy 
Foundation, Washington
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