Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 2009
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Copyright: 2009 The Sacramento Bee
Author: F. Aaron Smith
Note: Letters from newspaper's circulation area receive publishing priority


It's unfortunate that the entrenched drug warriors who've expressed
their blind opposition to Assemblyman Tom Ammiano's legislation to
regulate and tax marijuana couldn't have given this proposal more
thought before spewing their old, stale talking points. For example,
the response from Assemblyman Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley, that perhaps
the state's largest cash crop should be taxed is: "I think substance
abuse is just ruining our society."

I'm not so sure that our society is already in ruin, but this
generalization about "substance abuse" ignores the fact that marijuana
is far less toxic or addictive than legal drugs like alcohol and
tobacco. The most serious harm comes not from marijuana itself but
from laws that have given criminals a monopoly on its production and
distribution - enjoying tax-free income while they damage our
environment and make marijuana far more easily available to kids than
it would be under a regulated system.

Marijuana prohibition has been a dismal failure. It's time we try a
new approach and Assembly Bill 390 is a step in the right direction.

F. Aaron Smith California Policy Director, Marijuana Policy Project

Santa Rosa
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