Pubdate: Thu, 25 Nov 2010
Source: Daily Breeze (Torrance, CA)
Copyright: 2010 Los Angeles Newspaper group
Author: Robert Sharpe


If the goal of marijuana prohibition is to subsidize Mexican drug
cartels, prohibition is a success. The drug war distorts
supply-and-demand dynamics so that big money grows on little trees.
There is a reason you don't see drug cartels sneaking into national
forests to cultivate tomatoes and cucumbers. They cannot compete with
legitimate farmers.

If the goal of marijuana prohibition is to deter use, prohibition is
a failure. The United States has double the rate of use as the
Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available. Spain legalized 
cultivation for personal use and has lower rates of use. Portugal
decriminalized all drugs and still has lower rates of marijuana use
than the U.S.

Thanks to public education, tobacco use has declined, without any need
to criminalize smokers. The drop in highly addictive tobacco use has
occurred despite widespread tobacco availability. The only winners in
the war on marijuana are drug cartels and shameless politicians who
confuse drug prohibitions collateral damage with a plant.

- - Robert Sharpe, Washington, D.C.

The writer is policy analyst for Common Sense for Drug Policy
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