Pubdate: Mon, 17 Mar 2003
Source: Lantern, The (OH Edu)
Copyright: 2003 The Lantern
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


Erik Bussa's March 14 column was right on target. The drug war is in large 
part a war against marijuana, by far the most popular illicit drug. 
Punitive marijuana laws have little, if any, deterrent value. The 
University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future Study reports lifetime use 
of marijuana is higher in the United States 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. The big 
losers in this battle are the American taxpayers who have been deluded into 
believing big government is the appropriate response to non-traditional 
consensual vices. 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

Robert Sharpe, M.P.A. program officer Drug Policy Alliance
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