Pubdate: Tue, 02 Dec 2008
Source: Alestle, The (IL Edu)
Copyright: 2008 The Alestle
Note: All hard copy letters should be typed and double-spaced. All 
letters should be no longer than 500 words. Please include your phone 
number, signature(or name, if using e-mail) and student identification number.
Author: Dan Linn


Cannabis prohibition has failed just like alcohol prohibition failed.
When will politicians learn that adults who want to get high will find
a way to get high, just like those who wanted to get drunk were able
to get drunk during alcohol prohibition?

A regulated and taxed cannabis market for adults is long overdue in
America. By regulating the market it would make it tougher for
teenagers to acquire the substance as well, since our current system
of prohibition has no oversight of dealers. By making cannabis sales
similar to alcohol sales, with licensed sellers and age restrictions,
teenagers would actually have a more difficult time acquiring
cannabis. Plus, this would allow adults to purchase the product
legally instead of being forced to go through the black market.

For most teenagers it is easier to get cannabis than alcohol since
dealers don't card, so making the cannabis market a taxable, legal
market would actually prevent access to cannabis by children. Why is
the government concerned about "sending the right message to
children," shouldn't that be the parents' duty and responsibility?
Adult cannabis use should not be illegal in an effort to "send the
right message," and a legal cannabis market would have age
restrictions and penalties to those who supply children with cannabis.

Maintaining cannabis prohibition because of its addictive qualities is
a flawed argument as well. Cannabis has been shown to be less
addictive than alcohol and nicotine in a study done for the NIDA in
1994 by Jack E. Henningfield. The study noted the dependence,
tolerance and withdrawal levels of cannabis were lower than those of
alcohol and nicotine.

Prohibitionists face the problem that cannabis use is not as bad as
they have been portraying and more and more studies are being released
documenting the medical benefits of cannabis. Any concerns about
"smoking" medicine can quickly be dismissed by the use of vaporizers
and ingesting cannabis. Plus, if smoking cannabis is so harmful then
why aren't there widespread cases of lung cancer among cannabis users?
Cannabis has not one documented fatal overdose, which cannot be said
about many over the counter drugs found in most homes.

Cannabis use is still common despite being against the law and more
than 97 million Americans admit to having tried it, according to the
2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. This is proof that
cannabis prohibition is not working, and regulating and taxing
cannabis is a better option.

Cannabis users are probably the only segment of the population that
actually wants higher taxes. These cannabis consumers would rather pay
a tax on their habit and purchase it legally than risk arrest and with
government budgets stretched thin, how can we afford to keep losing
this potential source of tax revenue? A recent study by Jon Gettman
"Lost Taxes and Other Costs of Marijuana Laws," estimates that
marijuana in the U.S. is a $113 billion industry annually and that
American taxpayers are losing a total of $41 billion toward
enforcement of marijuana laws and lost potential tax revenue.


Executive Director of Illinois NORML

- ---
MAP posted-by: Steve Heath