Pubdate: Tue, 29 Apr 2008
Source: Ukiah Daily Journal, The (CA)
Copyright: 2008 The Ukiah Daily Journal
Author: Robert Sharpe


To the Editor:

In resonse to Mark Scaramella's April 20 "Sunday View" on marijuana,
the deterrent value of punitive marijuana laws is grossly overrated.
The University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future Study reports that
lifetime use of marijuana is higher in the U.S. than any European
country, yet America is one of the few Western countries that punish
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 causes big money to grow on little trees. Marijuana,
which grows like a weed, would be virtually worthless if legal. The
only clear winners in the war on marijuana are drug cartels and
shameless tough-on-drugs politicians who've built careers confusing
drug prohibition's collateral damage with a relatively harmless plant.
The big losers in this battle are the taxpayers who have been deluded
into believing big government is the appropriate response to
non-traditional consensual vices.

The results of a comparative study of European and U.S. rates of drug
use can be found at:

United Nations stats:

Robert Sharpe Policy Analyst Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, DC
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin