Pubdate: Mon, 12 Nov 2007
Source: Daily Tar Heel, The (U of NC, Edu)
Copyright: 2007 DTH Publishing Corp
Author: Allan Erickson


Jeff Soplop's column, "What to do about the doobie: part one" ( Nov. 
8) was interesting. A tad off base, but interesting.

Soplop did get some things right, like when he said "it would be 
ridiculous if the government outlawed (alcohol and cigarettes)." Yet 
he is so, so wrong when he says "because marijuana is no more harmful 
than cigarettes or alcohol doesn't mean that it should be legalized 
in the United States either."

Cannabis (marijuana) is a lot less harmful than either tobacco or 
alcohol. Monumentally less harmful: 5,000 years of recorded 
historical use without one fatality from consumption compared to 
400,000 deaths each year for tobacco (in the U.S. alone) and another 
100,000 from alcohol.

Should everyone consume it? No. Should those who do be labeled criminals? No.

The prohibition of alcohol failed for very specific reasons. The 
prohibition of cannabis (and all the other illegal drugs) suffers 
from the same failures.

After 70 years of government efforts to eliminate cannabis as a drug, 
it is now our nation's No. 1 agricultural commodity, worth more 
annually than soybeans and corn combined. That is failure, to the nth power.

It is not whether pot should be illegal but whether prohibition is a 
viable policy. Consider the history of cannabis prohibition and you 
will see a policy founded on lies and xenophobia.

Prohibition is the problem, not pot.

Allan Erickson

Drug Policy Forum of Oregon
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