Pubdate: Tue, 18 Jan 2011
Source: Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Copyright: 2011 Sun-Sentinel Company
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding Nicole Brochu's Jan. 11 column: 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. Drug
dealers don't ID for age.

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 like cocaine
and heroin. This "gateway" is a direct result of marijuana

Marijuana prohibition has failed miserably as a deterrent. 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 finance 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,
Washington, D.C.  
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