Pubdate: Mon, 02 Feb 2009
Source: Springfield News-Leader (MO)
Copyright: 2009 The Springfield News-Leader
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding Matt McSpadden's thoughtful Dec. 31 op-ed:

The drug war is in large part a war on marijuana, by far the most
popular illicit drug. Marijuana prohibition has done little other than
burden millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens with criminal
records. The University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future Study
reports that lifetime use of marijuana is higher in the United States
than any European country, yet America is one of the few Western
countries that use its criminal justice system to punish citizens who
prefer marijuana to martinis. The short-term health effects of
marijuana are inconsequential compared to the long-term effects of
criminal records.

Unfortunately, marijuana represents the counterculture to many
Americans. In subsidizing the prejudices of culture warriors,
government is subsidizing organized crime. The drug war's distortion
of immutable laws of supply and demand causes big money to grow on
little trees.

The only clear winners in the war on marijuana are drug cartels and
shameless tough-on-drugs politicians who've built careers confusing
drug prohibition's collateral damage with a relatively harmless plant.
The big losers in this battle are the taxpayers who have been deluded
into believing big government is the appropriate response to
non-traditional consensual vices.

The results of a comparative study of European and U.S. rates of drug
use can be found at:
and United Nations stats: http://

Robert Sharpe, MPA, Policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin