Pubdate: Fri, 03 May 2013
Source: San Diego Union Tribune (CA)
Copyright: 2013 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.
Note: Seldom prints LTEs from outside it's circulation area.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding your May 2 editorial, "How to end the battle over 
marijuana": If health outcomes determined drug laws, marijuana would 
be legal and there would be no medical marijuana debate.

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, but jail cells are inappropriate as health 
interventions and ineffective as deterrents.

The first marijuana laws were enacted in response to Mexican 
immigration during the early 1900s, despite opposition from the 
American Medical Association. Dire warnings that marijuana inspires 
homicidal rages have been counterproductive. Americans did not begin 
to smoke pot in significant numbers until our government began 
funding reefer madness propaganda.

Marijuana prohibition has clearly failed as a deterrent. The United 
States has higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where 
marijuana is legally available. The only winners in the war on 
marijuana are drug cartels and shameless tough-on-drugs politicians 
who've built careers confusing the drug war's tremendous collateral 
damage with a comparatively harmless plant.

- - Robert Sharpe, policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington, D.C.
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