Pubdate: Tue, 02 Aug 2011 Source: Bakersfield Californian, The (CA) Copyright: 2011 The Bakersfield Californian Contact: http://www.bakersfield.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/36 Author: Robert Sharpe, Common Sense for Drug Policy Referenced: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v11/n490/a03.html?1128 DRUG WAR FUELS CRIME Regarding Ric Llewellyn's July 30 column, "Is pot really good for whatever ails you?": Not only should medical marijuana be made available to patients in need, but adult recreational use should be regulated. Drug policies modeled after Prohibition-era restrictions on alcohol 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. Throwing more money at the problem is no solution. Attempting to limit the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains constant only increases 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 a 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 meth, cocaine and heroin. This "gateway" is a direct result of marijuana prohibition. ROBERT SHARPE Common Sense for Drug Policy Washington, D.C. - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.