Pubdate: Tue, 02 Jan 2007
Source: Tribune Review (Pittsburgh, PA)
Copyright: 2007 Tribune-Review Publishing Co.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding Bill Steigerwald's column "America's No. 1  crop ain't Xmas
trees" (Dec. 24 and, the  drug war is in large part a war
on marijuana -- by far  the most popular illicit drug.

A University of Michigan study reports that lifetime  use of marijuana
is higher in the United States than  any European country. Yet America
is one of the few  Western countries that uses its criminal justice
system  to punish citizens who prefer marijuana to martinis.

The short-term health effects of marijuana are  inconsequential
compared with the long-term effects of  criminal records.
Unfortunately, marijuana represents  the counterculture to many Americans.

In subsidizing the prejudices of culture warriors, the  U.S.
government is subsidizing organized crime. The  drug war's distortion
of immutable laws of supply and  demand make an easily grown weed
literally worth its  weight in gold.

The only clear winners in the war on marijuana are drug  cartels and
shameless tough-on-drugs politicians who've  built careers confusing
drug prohibition's collateral  damage with a relatively harmless
plant. The big losers  in this battle are the taxpayers deluded into
believing  big government is the appropriate response to
nontraditional consensual vices.


Washington, D.C.

The writer is a policy analyst for Common Sense for  Drug Policy
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MAP posted-by: Steve Heath