Pubdate: Wed, 29 Aug 2007
Source: Union Democrat, The (Sonora, CA)
Copyright: 2007 Western Communications, Inc
Author: Robert Sharpe


To the Editor:

Your Aug. 15 editorial ("Pot farms thrive despite best CAMP efforts) 
makes the common mistake of assuming that punitive marijuana laws 
actually deter use. The University of Michigan's Monitoring the 
Future 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 use its criminal justice system to punish 
citizens who prefer marijuana to martinis.

Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose 
death, nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco. The 
short-term health effects of marijuana are inconsequential compared 
to 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 on confusing drug 
prohibition's collateral damage with a relatively harmless plant. The 
big losers are the taxpayers who have been deluded into believing big 
government is the appropriate response to non-traditional consensual vices.

Robert Sharpe, MPA

policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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