Pubdate: Tue, 31 Dec 2013
Source: Providence Journal, The (RI)
Copyright: 2013 The Providence Journal Company
Author: Jared Moffat


In his Dec. 26 Commentary piece ("Cool the rush to legalize pot, 
man!"), Ben Barber shared an anecdote about his days of using 
marijuana on a commune in the 1960s. From his story, we are told to 
conclude that marijuana causes laziness.

Apparently all it takes for something to be illegal is that it makes 
some people lazy. So I suppose Mr. Barber thinks television and video 
games should be illegal, too. If we're going to use anecdotes, I can 
think of other individuals who used marijuana and have led very 
successful lives: President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, 
Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Carl Sagan, Michael Phelps -- not to mention 
hundreds of artists, musicians, and film producers who have made 
America the most creative country in the world.

Mr. Barber fundamental error is that he ignores the price that we 
citizens pay for marijuana prohibition. Law enforcement resources are 
distracted from focusing on serious crime; communities of color are 
discriminated against; and violent drug gangs accrue enormous untaxed 
profits by selling marijuana in the illegal market.

Mr. Barber's narrow-mindedness is typical of those who oppose 
regulating marijuana. They are only capable of repeating one message: 
marijuana is bad. Most of us realize that the real world is more 
complex than that, and policy should be driven by rational analysis, 
not anecdotes.

Jared Moffat


The writer is the director of Regulate Rhode Island, a nonprofit, 
grassroots coalition of citizens committed to ending marijuana 
prohibition in the Ocean State.
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