A failure

Posted Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 4:00 AM

Christi Turner’s April 3 column was right on target (see “Nip it in the bud”). If marijuana were fully legal there would be no backcountry grows on public land. Legitimate farmers would produce it by the ton at a fraction of the current cost. There is a reason you don’t see drug cartels sneaking into national forests to cultivate tomatoes and cucumbers. They cannot compete with a legal market.

If the goal of marijuana prohibition is to subsidize drug cartels, prohibition is a 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 failure. The United States has almost double the rate of marijuana use as the Netherlands, where marijuana is legal.

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. 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

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.

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