Pubdate: Wed, 27 Oct 2010
Source: Times Record (Brunswick, ME)
Copyright: 2010 Robert Sharpe
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding James M. Friedlander's Oct. 8 commentary ("A modest proposal:
Should we legalize drugs?"), 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 like methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin. This "gateway"
is a direct result of marijuana prohibition.

Some sources I used for this letter:

- - United Nations drug stats:

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

- - Marijuana arrest stats:

Robert Sharpe, MPA, policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy, 
Washington, D.C.  
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