Pubdate: Tue, 08 Oct 2002
Source: Mobile Register (AL)
Copyright: 2002 Mobile Register.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding the Sept. 23 editorial titled "New ad campaign gives straight 
dope on marijuana," I'm afraid the Mobile Register has been misled.

According to drug czar John Walters, more teens are in treatment for 
marijuana than for alcohol and all illegal drugs combined. The drug czar is 
deliberately misrepresenting government data in an effort to justify the 
war on some drugs. The federal government's reefer madness revisited 
campaign comes just months before Arizona and Nevada are set to vote on 
ballot initiatives that would decriminalize marijuana.

Record numbers of Americans arrested for marijuana possession have been 
forced into treatment by the criminal justice system. The resulting 
distortion of treatment statistics is then used by the drug czar to make 
the claim that marijuana is addictive.

There is a big difference between voluntary treatment and government 
coercion. Zero-tolerance drug laws do not distinguish between occasional 
use and chronic abuse.

The coercion of Americans who prefer marijuana to martinis into 
taxpayer-funded treatment centers says a lot about government priorities, 
but absolutely nothing about the relative harms of marijuana.

For a more objective take on marijuana, look to the Canadian Senate. After 
months of research, it recently concluded that marijuana is relatively 
benign, marijuana prohibition contributes to organized crime, and law 
enforcement efforts have little impact on patterns of use.


Program Officer

Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, D.C.
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