Robert Sharpe: Legalizing marijuana use would be a benefit

August 18, 2013 

Regarding your Aug. 3 editorial, if marijuana were fully legal there would be no backyard or back country growers using medical marijuana as a ruse to make money.

Legitimate farmers would produce it by the ton at a fraction of the current cost. You don't see Mexican drug cartels sneaking into national forests to cultivate tomatoes and cucumbers. They cannot compete with a legal market.

Marijuana prohibition is a complete failure. The United States has double the rate of marijuana use as the Netherlands where it 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. It's time to stop the arrests and instead tax legal marijuana.

• 2008 WHO survey confirming higher rates of marijuana use in United States: http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050141.

• United Nations drug stats: www.unodc.org.

• Comparative analysis of U.S. vs. Dutch rates of drug use: www.drugwarfacts.org/thenethe.htm.

• The following Virginia Law Review article provides a good overview of the cultural roots of marijuana legislation: www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/Library/studies/vlr/vlrtoc.htm.

ROBERT SHARPE, MPA Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Arlington, VA

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