Pubdate: Sun, 13 Dec 2009
Source: Topeka Capital-Journal (KS)
Copyright: 2009 The Topeka Capital-Journal
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding George Will's Dec. 2 column on marijuana, 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 of those were for
simple possession.

At a time when state and local governments are laying off police,
firefighters and teachers, 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 long overdue. Taxing and regulating marijuana
would render the $50 billion drug war obsolete. As long as organized
crime controls marijuana distribution, consumers will continue to come
into contact with sellers of hard drugs like cocaine and heroin. This
"gateway" is a direct result of marijuana prohibition.

Robert Sharpe, Arlington, Va.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake