Pubdate: Sun, 17 Oct 2010
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2010 Robert Sharpe
Author: Robert Sharpe


REGARDING KEVIN Cullen's Oct. 12 Metro column "Smoking, guns": There is a 
big difference between condoning marijuana use and protecting children from 
drugs. Decriminalization acknowledges the social reality of marijuana, and 
frees users from the stigma of life-shattering criminal records. What's 
really needed is a regulated market with age controls.

Separating the hard and soft drug markets is critical. As long as organized 
crime controls marijuana distribution, consumers will continue to come into 
contact with sellers of hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin. This gateway 
is a direct result of marijuana prohibition.

Marijuana prohibition has failed. The United States has higher rates of 
marijuana use than the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available. 
It makes no sense to waste tax dollars on failed marijuana policies that 
boost the finances of organized crime and facilitate the use of hard drugs.

Drug policy reform may send the wrong message to children, but I like to 
think the children are more important than the message.

Robert Sharpe

Policy analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Arlington, Va.
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