Pubdate: Wed, 6 Oct 2010
Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Copyright: 2010 Metro Times, Inc
Author: Robert Sharpe


Re: Metro Times' new Higher Ground column, the drug war is largely a
war on marijuana smokers. In 2009, there were 858,405 marijuana
arrests in the United States, 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, such as methamphetamines, cocaine and heroin. This
"gateway" is a direct result of marijuana prohibition.

Robert Sharpe, Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington, D.C. 
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