Pubdate: Wed, 15 Feb 2012 Source: Sooke News Mirror (CN BC) Copyright: 2012 Sooke News Mirror Contact: http://www.sookenewsmirror.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/2142 Author: Robert Sharpe, Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy Referenced: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v12/n115/a06.html?1155 MARIJUANA IS A REALITY Regarding your thoughtful Feb. 8 editorial, 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. Separating the hard and soft drug markets is critical. As long as organized crime controls marijuana distribution, consumers will continue to come into contact with sellers of hard drugs like cocaine and heroin. This "gateway" is a direct result of marijuana prohibition. Marijuana is less harmful than legal alcohol; the plant has never been shown to cause an overdose death. It makes no sense to waste tax dollars on failed marijuana policies that finance organized crime and facilitate the use of hard drugs. Drug policy reform may send the wrong message to children, but I like to think the children are more important than the message. Robert Sharpe, MPA Policy Analyst Common Sense for Drug Policy Washington, DC - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.