Pubdate: Tue, 22 Feb 2011
Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Copyright: 2011 The Seattle Times Company
Author: Robert Sharpe


Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes is to be commended for boldly
speaking out against marijuana prohibition ["It's time to legalize,
tax and regulate marijuana," Opinion, Feb. 17]. If health outcomes
determined drug laws instead of cultural norms, marijuana would be

Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose
death, nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco.
Marijuana can be harmful if abused, but jail cells are inappropriate
as health interventions and ineffective as deterrents. The first
marijuana laws were enacted in response to Mexican immigration during
the early 1900s, despite opposition from the American Medical

Dire warnings that marijuana inspires homicidal rages have been
counterproductive at best. White Americans did not even begin to smoke
pot until a soon-to-be entrenched federal bureaucracy began funding
reefer-madness propaganda. Marijuana prohibition has failed miserably
as a deterrent.

The U.S. has higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where
marijuana is legally available to adults. The only clear winners in
the war on marijuana are drug cartels and shameless tough-on-drugs
politicians who've built careers confusing the drug war's collateral
damage with a relatively harmless plant.

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