Pubdate: Sat, 11 Jun 2005
Source: New Times (CA)
Copyright: 2005 New Times
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding Jeff Hornaday's thoughtful article ("Out of joint," June

If health outcomes determined drug laws instead of cultural norms,
marijuana would be legal. Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been
shown to cause an overdose death, nor does it share the addictive
properties of tobacco. Marijuana can be harmful if abused, but jail
cells are inappropriate as health interventions and ineffective as
deterrents. The first marijuana laws were enacted in response to
Mexican migration during the early 1900s, despite opposition from the
American Medical Association.

Dire warnings that marijuana inspires homicidal rages have been
counterproductive at best. White Americans did not even begin to smoke
pot until a soon-to-be entrenched government bureaucracy began funding
reefer madness propaganda. By raiding voter-approved medical marijuana
providers in California, the very same U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration that claims illicit drug use funds terrorism is forcing
cancer and AIDS patients into the hands of street dealers. Apparently
marijuana prohibition is more important than protecting the country
from terrorism.

The following Virginia Law Review article offers a good overview of
the cultural roots of marijuana legislation: Library/studies/vlr/vlrtoc.htm.

For additional historical background please see the Canadian Senate


Policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C. 
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