Pubdate: Sun, 9 Aug 2009
Source: Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
Copyright: 2009 The Jamaica Observer Ltd,
Author: Robert Sharpe


Dear Editor,

For decades, the biggest obstacle to global marijuana law reform has
been the US Government. It remains to be seen whether current US
President Barack Obama is serious about change.

In the case of marijuana, there is no reason to maintain the status
quo. Here in the US, marijuana prohibition has failed miserably as a
deterrent. 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 still uses its criminal justice system to punish
citizens who prefer marijuana to martinis.

Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose
death, nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco. The
short-term health effects of marijuana are inconsequential compared to
the long-term effects of criminal records. Unfortunately, marijuana
represents the counterculture to misguided reactionaries intent on
legislating their version of morality.

In subsidising the prejudices of culture warriors, government is
subsidising organised crime. Jamaica should follow the lead of Europe
and 'Just Say No' to the American Inquisition.

The results of a comparative study of European and US rates of drug
use can be found at:

Robert Sharpe

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, DC

United States of America 
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