Pubdate: Sun, 20 Jan 2013
Source: Herald Times Reporter (Manitowoc, WI)
Copyright: 2013 Herald Times Reporter
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding your Jan. 15 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 U.S. 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 prohibition.

Robert Sharpe Policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy Arlington, Va.
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