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Letter to the editor: Stop pointless arrests, tax legal marijuana

Monday, June 24, 2013 - 8:52 am

Regarding Andrea Neal’s June 14 column, the days when our federal government can get away with confusing the drug war’s collateral damage with a comparatively harmless plant are coming to an end.

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 of marijuana prohibition is to deter use, prohibition is a catastrophic failure. The United States has double the rate of use as the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available. The criminalization of Americans who prefer marijuana to martinis has no basis in science. The war on marijuana consumers is a failed cultural inquisition, not an evidence-based public health campaign.

This country can no longer afford to subsidize the prejudices of culture warriors. Not just in Colorado and Washington State but throughout the nation, it’s time to stop the pointless arrests and instead tax legal marijuana.

Robert Sharpe, MPA, policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy

www.csdp.org