Pubdate: Sun, 05 Aug 2012
Source: Albany Democrat-Herald (OR)
Copyright: 2012 Lee Enterprises
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding your July 22 editorial, if health outcomes determined drug
laws instead of cultural norms, 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.

Prior to marijuana prohibition, few Americans had even heard of
marijuana, much less smoked it. Mainstream use only began after a
soon-to-be entrenched federal bureaucracy began funding reefer madness

Marijuana prohibition has failed. The U.S. has higher rates of
marijuana use than the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally
available to adults. 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

Robert Sharpe

Policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy

Arlington, Va. (July 25)
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