Pubdate: Tue, 24 Apr 2012
Source: Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
Copyright: 2012 Robert Sharpe
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding Steve Huntley's April 20 column in support of legalizing
marijuana, there is a middle ground between drug prohibition and full
legalization. Switzerland's clinical heroin maintenance program has
been shown to reduce disease, death and crime among chronic users. The
success of the Swiss program has inspired pilot projects in Canada,
Germany, Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands. If expanded, heroin
maintenance would deprive organized crime of a core client base. This
would render illegal heroin trafficking unprofitable and spare future
generations addiction.

Marijuana should be taxed and sold like alcohol, only without the
advertising. As long as organized crime controls distribution,
marijuana consumers will come into contact with hard drugs like
methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin.

This "gateway" is a direct result of marijuana prohibition. Unlike
alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death,
nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco. Marijuana may
be relatively harmless, but marijuana prohibition is deadly.

Robert Sharpe,

Common Sense for Drug Policy,

Arlington, Va.
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