Pubdate: Sun, 02 Feb 2014
Source: Albany Democrat-Herald (OR)
Copyright: 2014 Lee Enterprises
Author: Chris Burton


Some representatives make statements about subjects that are based on
beliefs not facts. Andy Olson (op-ed, Jan. 26), whom I respect, has
good intentions but has bad information concerning marijuana policy
and its harms and effects on society. Marijuana prohibition and policy
has cost the taxpayers an estimated $5 billion to $7 billion dollars
annually arresting and prosecuting individuals for marijuana violations.

Teen addiction is also overstated. It is said 60 percent of teenagers
in treatment have a primary marijuana diagnosis. Primarily, these are
young people arrested for minor possession offenses and are given a
choice of jail time or rehab. In no way is this indicative of whether
the person is suffering from any symptoms of dependency associated
with marijuana use.

Despite the notion that America's drug war focuses primarily on
targeting hard drugs and dealers, data compiled by the FBI report that
46 percent of all drug arrests are for marijuana. Now wonder why law
enforcement, drug courts and rehab facilities want to keep it illegal.
It can be hard to justify manpower if the number of people you are
arresting is reduced so significantly.

Looking at the facts and science, marijuana should not be classified
as a schedule 1 drug. It has medical benefits or doctors wouldn't
prescribe it. It is time for our representatives to start representing
the will of the people and not their own agendas or beliefs. I guess
when you are convinced for many years of the spurious danger of
something you start to believe it.

Chris Burton

Albany (Jan. 27)
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