Pubdate: Wed, 16 Nov 2011
Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Copyright: 2011 Robert Sharpe
Author: Robert Sharpe


When two retired judges and a former U.S. Attorney join together to 
make the case for marijuana legalization on the Opinion page of The 
Seattle Times, perhaps it's time to heed the arguments for reform. 
["Time to end failed experiment with marijuana prohibition," Nov. 12.]

While state and local governments are laying off police, firefighters 
and teachers, this country continues to spend enormous resources 
criminalizing Americans who prefer marijuana to martinis. The end 
result of this ongoing culture war is not necessarily lower rates of use.

The U.S. has higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, 
where marijuana is legally available. Decriminalization is a 
long-overdue step in the right direction. Taxing and regulating 
marijuana would render the drug war obsolete. As long as organized 
crime controls distribution, marijuana consumers will come into 
contact with sellers of hard drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine and 
heroin. This "gateway" is a direct result of marijuana prohibition.

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