Pubdate: Wed, 09 Dec 2009
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2009 The Washington Times, LLC.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Armstrong Williams confuses the impact of drug-law enforcement with
the effects of marijuana in his latest Op-Ed column ("California
doping our youths," Nation, Monday).

Record numbers of citizens arrested for marijuana possession have been
forced into treatment by the criminal justice system. Drug warriors
distort treatment statistics to claim that marijuana is "addictive."
The George W. Bush administration employed this ruse, and President
Obama's Office of National Drug Control Policy is perpetuating it. So
much for change.

Zero-tolerance drug laws do not distinguish between occasional use and
chronic abuse. The coercion of Americans who prefer marijuana to
martinis into taxpayer-funded treatment centers says a lot about the
government's priorities but nothing about the relative harms of marijuana.

Canada offers a valuable example. After months of exhaustive research,
the Canadian Senate concluded in 2002 that marijuana is relatively
harmless, that its prohibition contributes to organized crime and that
law enforcement efforts have little impact on patterns of use. In the
words of Quebec Sen. Pierre Claude Nolin, "Scientific evidence
overwhelmingly indicates that cannabis is substantially less harmful
than alcohol and should be treated not as a criminal issue but as a
social and public health issue."


Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

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