Pubdate: Wed, 19 Jan 2011
Source: Bay City Times, The (MI)
Copyright: 2011 Robert Sharpe
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding your Jan. 9 editorial, not only should medical marijuana be 
made available to patients in need, but adult recreational use should 
be regulated. Drug policies modeled after alcohol prohibition have 
given rise to a youth-oriented black market. Illegal drug dealers 
don't ID for age, but they do recruit minors immune to adult 
sentences. So much for protecting the children.

Throwing more money at the problem is no solution. Attempts to limit 
the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains constant only 
increase the profitability of drug trafficking. For addictive drugs 
like heroin, a spike in street prices leads desperate addicts to 
increase criminal activity to feed desperate habits. The drug war 
doesn't fight crime, it fuels crime.

Taxing and regulating marijuana, the most popular illicit drug, is a 
cost-effective alternative to never-ending drug war. As long as 
marijuana distribution is controlled by organized crime, consumers 
will continue to come into contact with hard drugs like 
methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin. This "gateway" is a direct 
result of marijuana prohibition.

Robert Sharpe, policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Arlington, Va.  
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