Pubdate: Thu, 09 Aug 2007
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2007 News World Communications, Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Paul Kengor makes the common mistake of assuming that punitive drug
laws deter use. The drug war is in large part a war on marijuana, by
far the most popular illicit drug. The University of Michigan's
Monitoring the Future Study reports that lifetime use of marijuana is
higher in the United States than in any European country, yet America
is one of the few Western countries that still punishes 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,
government is subsidizing organized crime. The drug war's distortion
of immutable laws of supply and demand makes 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 have built careers 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 nontraditional, consensual vices.

Robert Sharpe

Policy analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

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