Pubdate: Fri, 11 Oct 2002
Source: Buffalo News (NY)
Copyright: 2002 The Buffalo News
Author: Bruce Mirken,
Bookmark: (Canadian Senate Committee on 
Illegal Drugs)
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


I am writing in regard to the Sept. 28 News article, "Talking tough on 
pot." Our government would do well to review the conclusions of objective 
studies of marijuana done by other governments that lack the U.S. 
ideological commitment to the "war on drugs" approach.

For example, last March the British government's Advisory Committee on the 
Misuse of Drugs reported, "The high use of cannabis is not associated with 
major health problems for the individual or society."

On Sept. 4, the Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs 
concluded the most exhaustive and intensive examination of marijuana data 
and policy ever conducted by a government body. It concluded: ". . . The 
main social costs of cannabis are a result of public policy choices, 
primarily its continued criminalization, while the consequences of its use 
represent a small fraction of the social costs attributable to the use of 
illegal drugs. . . . Clearly, current approaches are ineffective and 
inefficient. Ultimately, their effect amounts to throwing taxpayers' money 
down the drain in a crusade that is not warranted by the danger posed by 
the substance."

I agree that use of marijuana and other drugs by youth should be 
discouraged, but teen marijuana use has remained roughly level despite a 
near-tripling of marijuana arrests over the last decade. Perhaps it is time 
to ask if we are accomplishing anything useful by arresting more Americans 
on marijuana charges than for all violent crimes combined.

Bruce Mirken. Director of Communications, Marijuana Policy Project
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