Pubdate: Sun, 25 Jul 2004
Source: Anniston Star (AL)
Copyright: 2004 Consolidated Publishing
Author: Jerry Epstein


Nall's letter highlighted the hypocrisy and misinformation that is
typical of marijuana policy.

Experts rate marijuana as far less dangerous than alcohol and know it
substitutes for the use of more dangerous drugs.

A White House ordered report (cost to taxpayers of $1 million) says
that marijuana is not a "gateway" but that making it illegal creates a
gateway to the use of more dangerous drugs, the reverse of our intentions.

The Lancet, generally regarded as the world's leading medical journal
for more than a century, has supported legalized marijuana since 1995,
saying: "The smoking of cannabis, even long term, is not harmful to
health. . . . Sooner or later politicians will have to stop running
scared and address the evidence: cannabis per se is not a hazard to
society but driving it further underground may well be."

Annual government data indicates some 75 percent of the young have
used marijuana by age 22, and prohibited marijuana is easier to get
than alcohol.

How could we do worse? And to designate so many of our young as
"criminal" is both absurd and has ruined millions of lives in ways
that marijuana never could.

We have not had an INDEPENDENT expert federal commission on marijuana
since 1982 and we desperately need one now. The public deserves to
hear science instead of hysterical, hypocritical political rhetoric
masked as science.

Jerry Epstein

Past President, Drug Policy Forum of Texas

Houston, Texas
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