Pubdate: Mon, 28 Sep 2009
Source: Maine Campus, The (ME Edu)
Copyright: 2009 The Maine Campus
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding Kegan Zema's thoughtful Sep. 24 op-ed; 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.  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 U.S.
has higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where
marijuana is legally available to adults over the age of 18.

Robert Sharpe, MPA

Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy 
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