Pubdate: Fri, 14 Dec 2007
Source: Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, WI)
Copyright: 2007 Eau Claire Press
Author: Gary Storck


The Dec. 7 letter headlined "Tobacco a bigger danger than pot" makes 
great sense in urging an end to marijuana prohibition.

An America where marijuana possession and distribution for personal 
use was legal was actually envisioned 35 years ago in a report by a 
Republican former Pennsylvania governor, Raymond Shafer, appointed by 
no less than President Nixon to head his National Commission on 
Marijuana and Drug Abuse. In 1972, the Shafer Commission recommended 
to Nixon and Congress that the "possession of marijuana for personal 
use no longer be an offense, (and that the) casual distribution of 
small amounts of marijuana for no remuneration, or insignificant 
remuneration no longer be an offense."

Although our leaders have yet to heed the Shafer Commission's 
sensible recommendations, it's never too late to turn around and 
begin regulating marijuana like we have long done with alcohol and tobacco.

A system of regulated sales would create a new tax revenue stream 
that could help fund needed programs while eliminating expenditures 
in law enforcement, the courts and the prison-probation system. It 
would also create an entirely new legal industry with untold 
potential for job creation and economic development.

In these days of economic uncertainty, unending war and global 
warming, the lifting of marijuana prohibition would likely produce a 
collective uplifting of our bruised and battered national spirit 
unseen since the repeal of alcohol prohibition in 1933. Removing 
criminal penalties would also allow the medical use of cannabis to 
reach its full potential, reducing health care costs. Millions of 
otherwise law-abiding Americans are already using marijuana today. 
It's time to admit marijuana prohibition has only made things worse, 
and bring America's and Wisconsin's biggest cash crop above ground.


Director, Madison Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform 
of Marijuana Laws

- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom