Pubdate: Sat, 9 Jan 2010
Source: Austin Chronicle (TX)
Copyright: 2010 Austin Chronicle Corp.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Dear Editor, 	 Regarding Jordan Smith's Jan. 1 column ["Top 9
Joints," News]: The drug war is largely a war on marijuana smokers. In
2008, there were 847,863 marijuana arrests in the U.S., almost 90% for
simple possession. At a time when state and local governments are
laying off police, firefighters, and teachers, this country continues
to spend enormous public resources criminalizing Americans who prefer
marijuana to martinis. The end result of this ongoing culture war is
not necessarily lower rates of use.

The U.S. has higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where
marijuana is legally available. Decriminalization is a long overdue
step in the right direction. Taxing and regulating marijuana would
render the drug war obsolete. As long as organized crime controls
marijuana distribution, consumers will continue to come into contact
with sellers of hard drugs like cocaine and meth. This "gateway" is a
direct result of marijuana prohibition.

Sincerely, Robert Sharpe

Policy analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C. 
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