Pubdate: Sat, 21 Dec 2002
Source: Telegram, The (CN NF)
Copyright: 2002 The Telegram
Author: Robert Sharpe


Premier Roger Grimes' pronouncement that the federal government should 
legalize marijuana is not as outrageous as your Dec. 13 editorial ("He 
shoots, he confuses") suggests.

As long as marijuana distribution remains in the hands of organized crime, 
consumers will continue to come into contact with hard drugs like cocaine.

This "gateway" is the direct result of a fundamentally flawed policy. It's 
important to note that marijuana prohibition has little, if any, deterrent 

Telling examples of drug-war failure can be found very close to home.

The University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future Study reports that 
lifetime use of marijuana is higher in the U.S. than any European country, 
yet the U.S. is one of the few Western countries that uses its criminal 
justice system to punish 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.

Legislating Morality

Unfortunately, marijuana represents the counterculture to misguided 
reactionaries intent on legislating their version of morality. In 
subsidizing the prejudices of culture warriors, government is inadvertently 
subsidizing organized crime.

The drug war's distortion of immutable laws of supply and demand make an 
easily grown weed literally worth its weight in gold.

The only clear winners in the war on some drugs are drug cartels and 
shameless tough-on-drugs politicians who've built careers on confusing drug 
prohibition's collateral damage with a relatively harmless plant.

The results of a comparative study of European and U.S. rates of drug use 
can be found at:

Robert Sharpe

Program officer

Drug Policy Alliance

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