Robert Sharpe: Changing policies
October 13, 2010
Regarding your Oct. 6 editorial ("Medical marijuana series aims to educate"), not only should medical marijuana be made available to patients in need, but adult recreational use should be regulated. Drug policies modeled after alcohol prohibition have given rise to a youth-oriented black market. Illegal drug dealers don't ID for age, but they do recruit minors immune to adult sentences. So much for protecting the children.
Throwing more money at the problem is no solution. Attempts to limit the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains constant only increase the profitability of drug trafficking. For addictive drugs like heroin, a spike in street prices leads desperate addicts to increase criminal activity to feed desperate habits. The drug war doesn't fight crime, it fuels crime.
Taxing and regulating marijuana, the most popular illicit drug, is a cost-effective alternative to never-ending drug war. As long as marijuana distribution is controlled by organized crime, consumers will continue to come into contact with hard drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin. This "gateway" is a direct result of marijuana prohibition.
Robert SharpeRobert Sharpe
Policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug PolicyPolicy analyst, Common Sense for Drug PolicyPolicy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy