Pubdate: Mon, 10 Mar 2003
Source: Rebel Yell (Las Vegas, NV Edu)
Copyright: 2003 Rebel Yell
Author: Robert Sharpe


To the Editor:

How nice of Secretary of State Colin Powell to warn prospective spring 
break travelers that American-style zero tolerance awaits them in foreign 
countries. Students who end up in third world jails have the U.S. State 
Department to thank for their misfortune. The failed drug war would have 
ended decades ago if the United States didn't use its superpower status to 
export a dangerous moral crusade around the globe. The drug war is in large 
part a war against marijuana, by far the most popular illicit drug. 
Marijuana prohibition has done little other than burden millions of 
otherwise law-abiding citizens with criminal records. 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 America 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. 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 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 marijuana 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. Students 
who want to help end the intergenerational culture war otherwise known as 
the war on some drugs should contact Students for Sensible Drug Policy at

The results of a comparative study of European and U.S. rates of drug use 
can be found at:  *MTF 
is funded by the U.S. government

Robert Sharpe

Program Officer

Drug Policy Alliance
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