Pubdate: Thu, 23 Jun 2005
Source: Los Angeles City Beat (CA)
Copyright: 2005 Southland Publishing
Note: Also prints Los Angeles Valley Beat, often with similar content, and
the same contact information.
Author: Robert Sharpe


What's the real impact of state-level medical marijuana laws on interstate
commerce [Re: Editorial, June 16]? Patients with the option of legally
obtaining marijuana under a doctor's recommendation don't rely on the black
market. If the federal government decides to focus federal law enforcement
resources on busting voter-approved medical marijuana suppliers, desperate
patients will turn to street dealers for their medicine. The U.S. Supreme
Court effectively confirmed organized crime's monopoly on marijuana
distribution. International drug cartels are no doubt thrilled with the
Court's ruling. It's now up to Congress to decide whether or not to maintain
the status quo.

Despite overwhelming public support for medical marijuana, many politicians
remain fearful of drug policy reform. Far too much political capital has
been invested in the war on some drugs. Tough-on-drugs politicians have
built careers on confusing drug Prohibition's collateral damage with a
relatively harmless plant. I can only hope the prospect of federal agents
arresting cancer and AIDS patients inspires Congress to pass
compassionate-use legislation. Reefer madness is a poor excuse for
criminalizing healthy citizens who prefer marijuana to martinis. There is no
excuse for prosecuting sick patients desperate to ease their suffering.

Robert Sharpe, MPA Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy
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