Pubdate: Sat, 31 Jan 2004
Source: Quad-City Times (IA)
Copyright: 2004 Quad-City Times
Author: Robert Sharpe


It is indeed naive to believe this nation's billion-dollar marijuana 
business rides primarily on the backs of Hispanics. According to the Iowa 
Department of Public Safety, "during the 2000 fiscal year, an estimated 
$4.5 million in marijuana plants were eradicated" in Iowa.

There's a reason local farmers are turning to illegal marijuana to make 
ends meet. The drug war's distortion of immutable laws of supply and demand 
make an easily grown weed literally worth its weight in gold.

Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death, 
nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco. Marijuana can be 
harmful if abused, but criminal records are hardly appropriate health 

In subsidizing the prejudices of culture warriors, the U.S. government is 
inadvertently subsidizing organized crime.

Lifetime use of marijuana is higher in the United States 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. The big losers in this battle are the taxpayers who have been 
deluded into believing big government is the appropriate response to 
non-traditional consensual vices.

Robert Sharpe

Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, D.C.