Pubdate: Tue, 07 Sep 2004
Source: Bay City Times, The (MI)
Copyright: 2004 The Bay City Times
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding the Our View on Aug. 24:

Not only should medical marijuana be made available to patients in

need, but adult recreational use should be regulated. Drug policies
modeled after alcohol prohibition have given rise to a youth-oriented
black market. Illegal drug dealers don't ID for age, but they do
recruit minors immune to adult sentences. So much for protecting the

Throwing more money at the problem is no solution. Attempts to limit
the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains constant only
increases the profitability of drug trafficking. For addictive drugs
like heroin, a spike in street prices leads desperate addicts to
increase criminal activity to feed desperate habits. The drug war
doesn't fight crime, it fuels crime.

Taxing and regulating marijuana, the most popular illicit drug, is a
cost-effective alternative to never-ending drug war. 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

Given that marijuana is arguably safer than alcohol - the plant has
never been shown to cause an overdose death - it makes no sense to
waste tax dollars on failed policies that finance organized crime and
facilitate hard drug use. Drug policy reform may send the wrong
message to children, but I like to think the children are more
important than the message.

Robert Sharpe, policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington, D.C.
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