Pubdate: Fri, 21 Jun 2013
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)
Copyright: 2013 PG Publishing Co., Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe
Page: B-6


Regarding your June 14 editorial "Dubious War: Blacks Suffer a
Disparity in Marijuana Arrest Rates," the drug war has been waged in
a racist manner since its inception. The Harrison Narcotics Act of
1914 was preceded by a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment. Opium was
identified with Chinese laborers, marijuana with Mexicans and cocaine
with African-Americans. Racial profiling continues to be the norm,
despite similar rates of drug use for minorities and whites. The drug
war is a cultural inquisition, not a public health campaign.

Criminal records are inappropriate as health interventions and
ineffective as deterrents. The failure of the drug war should be
abundantly clear by now. After 100 years of drug war, marijuana is now
mainstream. While the punitive approach has failed, there is a better
and cheaper way. Thanks to public education, legal tobacco use has
declined, without any need to criminalize tobacco smokers or farmers.
Drug abuse is bad, but the drug war is worse.


Policy Analyst Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt