Pubdate: Fri, 4 Apr 2008
Source: Eagle-Tribune, The (MA)
Copyright: 2008 The Eagle-Tribune
Author: Robert Sharpe


To the editor:

Regarding Taylor Armerding's March 30 column, Rep. Barney Frank's 
marijuana bill is a step in the right direction.

There is a big difference between condoning marijuana use and 
protecting children from drugs. Decriminalization acknowledges the 
social reality of marijuana use and frees users from criminal 
records. What's really needed is a regulated market with age 
controls. Separating the hard and soft drug markets is critical. As 
long as marijuana distribution remains in the hands of organized 
crime, consumers will continue to come into contact with sellers of 
hard drugs like cocaine and heroin. This "gateway" is the direct 
result of a fundamentally flawed policy.

Given that marijuana is arguably safer than legal alcohol - the plant 
has never been shown to cause an overdose death - it makes no sense 
to waste scarce tax dollars on failed policies that finance organized 
crime and facilitate the use of hard drugs. Drug policy reform may 
send the wrong message to children, but I like to think the children 
are more important than the message.

Robert Sharpe

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

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