Pubdate: Thu, 29 Mar 2007
Source: Montgomery County Sentinel (Rockville, MD)
Copyright: 2007 Montgomery Sentinel Publishing, Inc
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding Brian J. Karem's thoughtful Mar. 22nd column, alcohol kills
more Americans each year than all illegal drugs combined. Prescription
overdose deaths are second only to motor-vehicle crashes as a cause of
death from unintentional injury. Television is filled with highly
sophisticated pro-drug messages paid for by alcohol and pharmaceutical
companies. The Bush administration doesn't have a problem with
corporate drug pushers. But hoist a "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banner at a
high school rally in Alaska, and they will fight you all the way to
the Supreme Court.

Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose
death, nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco. Granted,
the plant is often confused with the counterculture, which may explain
why some people believe the war on marijuana is more important than
the First Amendment. To me at least, it is not clear how a nonsensical
phrase like "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" merits limiting free speech. Then
again, the Bush administration's reefer madness obsession with
marijuana has never made sense.

By raiding California's medical cannabis dispensaries, the very same
federal government that claims illicit drug use funds terrorism is
forcing cancer and AIDS patients into the hands of street dealers. So
it's not just the Constitution that is expendable. Apparently
marijuana prohibition is more important than protecting the country
from terrorism too.

Robert Sharpe, MPA

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy