Why prohibit marijuana?
October 2, 2007
Dear Editor:(Re: “My good friend and the foolish war on drugs,” by John Colson, Aspen Times Weekly, Sept. 30)If health outcomes determined drug laws instead of cultural norms, marijuana would be legal.Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death, nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco. Marijuana can be harmful if abused, but jail cells are inappropriate as health interventions and ineffective as deterrents.The first marijuana laws were enacted in response to Mexican immigration during the early 1900s, despite opposition from the American Medical Association. Dire warnings that marijuana inspires homicidal rages have been counterproductive at best. White Americans did not even begin to smoke pot until a soon-to-be entrenched government bureaucracy began funding reefer madness propaganda.By raiding voter-approved medical marijuana providers in California, the very same U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration that claims illicit drug use funds terrorism is forcing cancer and AIDS patients into the hands of street dealers. Apparently, marijuana prohibition is more important than protecting the country from terrorism.The following Virginia Law Review article offers a good overview of the cultural roots of marijuana legislation: http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/Library/studies/vlr/vlrtoc.htm Robert Sharpe, MPAPolicy AnalystCommon Sense for Drug PolicyWashington, D.C.