Pubdate: Fri, 24 Jul 2009
Source: Boston Phoenix (MA)
Copyright: 2009 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding "Weed Picking Up Speed": if health outcomes determined drug
laws instead of cultural norms, marijuana would be legal. Unlike
alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death,
nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco. Like any drug,
marijuana can be harmful if abused, but jail cells are inappropriate
as health interventions and ineffective as deterrents.

The first marijuana laws were enacted in response to Mexican
immigration during the early 1900s, despite opposition from the
American Medical Association. Dire warnings that marijuana inspires
homicidal rages have been counterproductive, at best. Most white
Americans did not even begin to smoke pot until a soon-to-be
entrenched federal bureaucracy began funding reefer-madness propaganda.

Marijuana prohibition has failed miserably as a deterrent. The US has
higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where marijuana is
legally available to adults over 18. The only clear winners in the war
on marijuana are drug cartels and shameless tough-on-drugs politicians
who've built careers confusing the drug war's collateral damage with a
relatively harmless plant.

Robert Sharpe

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, DC 
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