Pubdate: Tue, 10 Aug 2010
Source: San Gabriel Valley Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2010 San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Author: Robert Sharpe


The drug war is largely a war on marijuana smokers. In 2008, there
were 847,863 marijuana arrests in the U.S., almost 90 percent 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
distribution, marijuana consumers will come into contact with sellers
of hard drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin. This "gateway"
is a direct result of marijuana prohibition.

Robert Sharpe

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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