Pubdate: Sat, 21 Jan 2012
Source: Daily Telegram, The (Adrain, MI)
Copyright: 2012 GateHouse Media, Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe


To the editor,

If health outcomes determined drug laws instead of cultural norms, 
marijuana would be fully legal and there would be no medical 
marijuana debate. 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 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 Common Sense for Drug Policy policy analyst Arlington, Va.
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