Pubdate: Tue, 02 Aug 2011 Source: Reporter, The (Vacaville, CA) Copyright: 2011 The Reporter Contact: http://www.thereporter.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/472 Author: Robert Sharpe, Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy Referenced: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v11/n484/a07.html FAILED MARIJUANA POLICIES If health outcomes determined drug laws instead of cultural norms, marijuana would be legal and there would be no debate over dispensaries ("Dispensary rules are sensible," July 26 editorial). 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 Association. 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 United States 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. - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.