Pubdate: Wed, 22 Feb 2006
Source: Metrowest Daily News (MA)
Copyright: 2006 MetroWest Daily News
Author: Kim  Hanna
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


As a law enforcement officer, I could see a biased Tom Riley being 
against marijuana decriminalization, but as a gubernatorial candidate 
I would expect a more enlightened, leadership position on the pending 
marijuana bill ("AG Reilly  slams idea to soften penalties," Feb. 15).

With a little research Mr. Riley would find out  that in the states 
where marijuana is decriminalized, the youth there smoke  marijuana 
at lower rates than in Massachusetts. It is a simple known fact that 
criminalizing marijuana drives teens to try marijuana. It is the 
"forbidden  fruit" syndrome; somewhat akin to "don't touch yourself 
or you'll go blind."

Prior to marijuana prohibition in 1937, marijuana  was used primarily 
by jazz musicians and migrant Mexican workers, without any  adverse 
consequences that can be truthfully documented.

With the advent of marijuana prohibition and the  government's 
national smear campaign against marijuana, the little known plant 
became the "rebel outlaw" that needed to be tried by our youth. Of 
course, with  national exposure, marijuana use caught on and spread 
like wildfire across the  nation.

Last year there were over 700,000 arrests for  marijuana (about 85 
percent for simple possession) and prior to prohibition we  had none. 
The war on marijuana has cost tens of billions of dollars while only 
increasing marijuana use.

I sure don't want police wasting time arresting,  transporting and 
processing anyone for simple marijuana possession. Police are  highly 
paid law enforcement officers and should concentrate on more 
important public safety matters.

Kim  Hanna
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