Pubdate: Thu, 08 Apr 2010
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2010 The Washington Post Company
Author: Mike Meno
Note: The writer is director of communications at the Marijuana 
Policy Project, which promotes support for nonpunitive marijuana policies.


D.C. Assistant Police Chief Peter Newsham might be an unlikely 
advocate for overhauling our nation's broken marijuana laws, but he 
articulated a central truth about the harms associated with marijuana 
and marijuana prohibition ["As D.C. votes on marijuana, seeds already 
firmly planted," front page. May 4]. "People don't feel marijuana is 
dangerous," Newsham said, "but it is, because of the way it is sold."

Exactly. Marijuana is virtually nontoxic, incapable of producing a 
fatal overdose and much less dangerous than both alcohol and tobacco. 
But by keeping marijuana illegal, our policies have created an 
underground, unregulated market that is controlled by criminals and 
violent gangs.

More than 15 million Americans use marijuana every month, and many of 
them will risk their safety when trying to buy it from drug dealers 
who are not required to follow any of the responsible controls, 
regulations and laws that we have successfully applied to the sale of alcohol.

It's time for officials to acknowledge reality: Marijuana doesn't 
kill people. Prohibition does.

Mike Meno, Washington
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom