Pubdate: Wed, 01 Dec 2004
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
Copyright: 2004 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


In response to the Nov. 26 editorial, "High times in Columbia":

Not only should medical marijuana be made available to Missouri
patients in need, but also 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 require IDs to
prove age, but they do recruit minors immune to adult sentences. So
much for protecting the children.

Throwing more money at the problem is no solution. Attempts to limit
the supply of illegal drugs, while demand remains constant, only
increase 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 a 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. This
"gateway" is the direct result of a fundamentally flawed policy.

Marijuana arguably is safer than alcohol. It never has been shown to
cause an overdose death. It makes no sense to waste scarce resources
on failed policies that finance organized crime and facilitate the use
of hard drugs.

Robert Sharpe,

  Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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