Pubdate: Tue, 10 Jul 2012
Source: Charleston Gazette (WV)
Copyright: 2012 Charleston Gazette
Author: Robert Sharpe



Regarding your June 25 editorial, the drug war is largely a war on
marijuana smokers. In 2010, there were 853,839 marijuana arrests in
the United States, almost 90 percent for simple possession.

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

The United States 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

Robert Sharpe

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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