Pubdate: Sun, 01 Dec 2002
Source: Tampa Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2002, The Tribune Co.
Author: Stephen Heath


Regarding "Defeats For Marijuana Legalization" (Our Opinion, Nov. 27):

The Nevada initiative received more than 39 percent of the vote, not 35 
percent as the Partnership For A Drug-Free America reports. The four-point 
difference is significant since it is much higher than the summer 2001 USA 
Today poll, which showed 34 percent of Americans believe we should legalize 
marijuana for responsible adult use. Also, Nevada and Arizona included 
additional measures within the initiatives mandating a state-run 
distribution system. This extra "baggage" resulted in more "no" votes than 
would have been recorded had there been only one question - whether an 
otherwise law-abiding adult should be subject to a jail cage and long-term 
criminal record merely for marijuana possesion. And the PDFA omits telling 
you that both U.S. Drug Czar John Walters and Drug Enforcement 
Administration Adminstrator Asa Hutchinson spent taxpayer time in both 
states lobbying against the initiatives - a blatant violation of campaign 
and election laws.

Thankfully, 72 percent of Americans polled agree that decriminalizaing 
marijuana is preferable to our current policy of arresting almost 2,000 
people a day for possession alone (more than for all violent crimes 
combined). As we watch Canada, Great Britian and most of Western Europe 
embrace both medical marijuana use and also decrim possession for adults, 
we can confidently view American opinions moving closer towards ending the 
War Against Americans, formerly known as the War Against Marijuana.

Stephen Heath, Clearwater

The writer is public relations director of Drug Policy Forum of Florida.
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