Pubdate: Thu, 7 Feb 2008
Source: Sentinel Review (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 Annex Publishing & Printing Inc.
Author: Jerry Epstein


Re: Marijuana vending machines - unbelievable (One person's view, Jan. 31)

The flap over marijuana vending machines is another case of being 
unable to see the forest for the trees.

Government data since 1975 shows about 85 per cent of high school 
seniors annually tell us marijuana is "easy to get," easier than 
legal alcohol. This is largely because over a million teens sell 
drugs for the illegal profits caused by prohibition. Teens also often 
sell other drugs, but marijuana is the financial backbone for many 
major cartels, right down to mom and pop operations. Vending machines 
might at least reduce teen temptations to sell and might help erase 
the gateway to other drugs. The National Academy of Sciences pointed 
out in 1982 and 1999 there is no drug gateway, but there is a market 
gateway that only exists because marijuana is illegal. Experts in 
pharmacology repeatedly rank marijuana as much less dangerous than 
alcohol, the drug responsible for 83 per cent of U.S. drug addiction 
in 2006. The Dutch have had quasi legal marijuana for over 30 years, 
their teens still use less than ours and there have been no 
significant problems. The Dutch government has collected taxes, while 
we've been spending taxes to arrest over 15 million for marijuana offences.

Our government called for marijuana prohibition in 1937, based on 
absurd (media-inflamed) arguments it killed users and made them 
violent. The AMA denied this, based on 90 years of experience with 
medical use of marijuana, but was ignored. We now know marijuana 
toxicity has killed no one and it tends to suppress violence. The 
proper question: Why is marijuana still prohibited?

Jerry Epstein

Houston, Tex.
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