Pubdate: Thu, 14 Aug 2014
Source: Times Union (Albany, NY)
Copyright: 2014 Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation
Author: Robert Sharpe


In his commentary, Tom Templeton makes the common mistake of assuming 
that criminal penalties for marijuana deter marijuana use ("Pot and its 
effect on the adolescent brain," Aug. 2). That's not the case.

If the goal of marijuana prohibition is to subsidize violent drug 
cartels, prohibition is a grand success. The drug war distorts 
supply-and-demand dynamics so that big money grows on little trees. If 
the goal is to deter use, marijuana prohibition is a catastrophic failure.

The United States has almost double the rate of marijuana use as the 
Netherlands, where marijuana has been legally available for decades. The 
criminalization of Americans who prefer marijuana to martinis has no 
basis in science. Criminal records are inappropriate, as health 
interventions and ineffective as deterrents.

The war on marijuana consumers is a failed cultural inquisition, not an 
evidence-based public health campaign. It's time to stop the pointless 
arrests and instead tax legal marijuana.

Robert Sharpe

Policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug PolicyWashington, D.C.
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