Pubdate: Tue, 31 Jul 2012
Source: Register-Guard, The (OR)
Copyright: 2012 The Register-Guard
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding The Register-Guard's July 22 editorial, "Full-bore 
legalization": If health outcomes instead of cultural norms 
determined drug laws, marijuana would be legal. 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 
migration during the early 1900s, despite opposition from the 
American Medical Association. Dire warnings that marijuana inspires 
homicidal rages have been counterproductive. Whites did not even 
begin to smoke pot until a soon-to-be entrenched federal bureaucracy 
began funding "reefer madness" propaganda.

Marijuana prohibition has failed. The United States has higher rates 
of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally 
available. Taxing and regulating marijuana would provide consumers 
with a safer alternative to alcohol and close the gateway to hard 
drugs by taking marijuana distribution out of the hands of violent 
drug cartels. Marijuana may be relatively harmless, but marijuana 
prohibition is deadly.

ROBERT SHARPE, POLICY ANALYST Common Sense for Drug Policy

Arlington, Va.
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