Pubdate: Tue, 06 Jan 2009
Source: Register Citizen (CT)
Copyright: 2009 Register Citizen
Author: Clifford Schaffer


Your editors almost got it right. The marijuana laws were based on 
racism, ignorance, and nonsense from the very beginning. Every major 
study of drug laws from around the world over the last 100 years 
agrees that marijuana prohibition does more harm than good. You got that right.

However, keeping sales illegal simply means that organized crime will 
have a monopoly on a multi-billion dollar market. There are really 
only two choices for sales of marijuana. Either the Mexican drug 
lords get tens of billions of dollars per year, or that money could 
go to law-abiding American citizens. It is the same choice we had 
with beer -- Al Capone or Anheuser-Busch.

Marijuana is now de facto legal in California. As a result of the 
medical marijuana law there are now hundreds of stores openly selling 
marijuana. They have regular storefronts in strip malls. They 
advertise marijuana specials in the newspaper. Some have neon signs 
in the window. Any adult who wants marijuana only needs a doctor's 
recommendation to shop in the stores. Recommendations are about $100 
and no adult who asks is refused.

Some stores have done $50 million in business from a single location 
in a single year. The stores pay an estimated $100 million per year 
in sales taxes.

The big news is that it isn't a problem. None of the predicted 
calamities happened. It isn't bothering most people and support for 
the medical marijuana law is now higher than when the law was passed.

Clifford A. Schaffer Director, DRCNet Online Library of Drug Policy 
Agua Dulce, CA
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