Pubdate: Fri, 17 Dec 2010
Source: Daily Telegram, The (Adrain, MI)
Copyright: 2010 GateHouse Media, Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe


To the editor,

If health outcomes determined drug laws instead of cultural norms, 
marijuana would be fully legal. ("Brief halt OK on new medical pot 
facilities," Dec. 15). Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown 
to cause an overdose death, nor does it share the addictive 
properties of tobacco. 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. 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. Please consider this research:

United Nations drug stats:

Comparative analysis of U.S. vs. Dutch rates of drug use:

The following Virginia Law Review article provides a good overview of 
the cultural roots of marijuana legislation:

Robert Sharpe

Common Sense for Drug Policy analyst

Arlington, Va. 
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