Pubdate: Mon, 19 Aug 2002
Source: Galveston County Daily News (TX)
Copyright: 2002 Galveston Newspapers, Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


Jerry Epstein's (The Daily News, Aug. 9) column on the failure of drug
prohibition was right on target. The drug war is in large part a war on
marijuana, by far the most popular illicit drug.  The University of
Michigan's Monitoring the Future Study reports that lifetime use of
marijuana is higher in the United States than any European country. Yet
America is one of the few western countries that wastes resources punishing
citizens who prefer marijuana to martinis.

Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death,
nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco.  The short-term
health effects of marijuana are inconsequential compared to the long-term
effects of criminal records.  Unfortunately, marijuana represents the
counterculture to misguided reactionaries in Congress intent on legislating
their version of morality.

In subsidizing the prejudices of culture warriors, the U.S. government is
inadvertently subsidizing organized crime.  The big losers in this battle
are the American taxpayers who have been deluded into believing big
government is the appropriate response to non-traditional consensual vices.

Robert Sharpe Program officer, Drug Policy Alliance Arlington, VA
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