Pubdate: Thu, 09 Jun 2005
Source: USA Today (US)
Copyright: 2005 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc
Author: Robert Sharpe


What's the real impact of state-level medical marijuana laws on interstate 

Patients with the option of legally obtaining marijuana under a doctor's 
recommendation don't rely on the black market. If the Bush administration 
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 ruling. It's now up to Congress to decide whether 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, policy analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

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