Pubdate: Thu, 29 Sep 2011
Source: Chico News & Review, The (CA)
Copyright: 2011 Chico Community Publishing, Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe


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. The United States has higher rates of 
marijuana use than the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally 
available to adults 18 and older.

As is the case with alcohol, age controls can only go so far. Far 
more important is the separation of hard- and soft-drug markets. As 
long as organized crime controls marijuana distribution, consumers 
will continue to come into contact with sellers of hard drugs like 
cocaine, meth and heroin. This "gateway" is a direct result of 
marijuana prohibition.

Marijuana may be relatively harmless, but marijuana prohibition is deadly.

Robert Sharpe, MPA

Common Sense for Drug Policy Washington, D.C. 
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