Pubdate: Mon, 07 Dec 2009
Source: Tribune Review (Pittsburgh, PA)
Copyright: 2009 Tribune-Review Publishing Co.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding George Will's column "Rocky Mountain medical high" (Nov. 29
and The drug war is largely a war on marijuana smokers.

In 2008, there were 847,863 marijuana arrests in the U.S., almost 90
percent for simple possession. This country continues to spend
enormous public resources criminalizing Americans who prefer marijuana
to martinis. The result of this ongoing culture war is not necessarily
lower rates of use.

The U.S. has higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where
marijuana is legally available. Decriminalization is a long-overdue
step in the right direction. Taxing and regulating marijuana would
render the drug war obsolete.

As long as organized crime controls marijuana distribution, consumers
will continue to come into contact with sellers of hard drugs such as
cocaine and heroin. This "gateway" is a direct result of marijuana

Robert Sharpe

Arlington, Va.

The writer is policy analyst with Common Sense for Drug Policy 
( in Washington, D.C. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jo-D