Pubdate: Sat, 21 Jan 2012
Source: Daily Courier (Prescott, AZ)
Copyright: 2012 Prescott Newspapers, Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding the Courier's Jan. 6 editorial, 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 have built careers confusing the drug war's collateral
damage with a relatively harmless plant.

Robert Sharpe

Arlington, Va.
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