Pubdate: Mon, 26 Jan 2009
Source: Greensboro News & Record (NC)
Copyright: 2009 Greensboro News & Record, Inc.
Author: David Smith


While Julie Westholder ("Risks outweigh benefits for marijuana
smokers," letter, Jan. 23) makes some valid points, I would like to
advise her that the current policies are not working.

While she may consider alcohol and tobacco gateway drugs because they
are easily accessible due to being legal, I would argue that marijuana
is even more accessible while being illegal. Drug dealers do not ask
for IDs. Furthermore, addiction is a disease. Prevention has obviously
not worked, so why not move toward rehabilitation? Another point that
needs to be considered is the burden the current policies have put on
the system.

Mandatory minimum sentencing has filled our jails with nonviolent

When was the last time someone committed a violent crime to support
their pot habit?

The money saved by not prosecuting these offenders and the money
earned by taxing marijuana could pay for the rehabilitation of addicts
and give the Drug Enforcement Administration the resources to go after
violent drug offenders.

It is time to decriminalize marijuana, take the money earned from
taxing it and put it to better use like rehabilitation, enforcement of
violent crimes and, God forbid, balancing the U.S. budget.

David Smith

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