THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
DECRIMINALIZING MARIJUANA

It’s an issue of protecting children

October 17, 2010

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REGARDING KEVIN Cullen’s Oct. 12 Metro column “Smoking, guns’’: There is a big difference between condoning marijuana use and protecting children from drugs. Decriminalization acknowledges the social reality of marijuana, and frees users from the stigma of life-shattering criminal records. What’s really needed is a regulated market with age controls.

Separating the hard and soft drug markets is critical. As long as organized crime controls marijuana distribution, consumers will continue to come into contact with sellers of hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin. This gateway is a direct result of marijuana prohibition.

Marijuana prohibition has failed. The United States has higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available. It makes no sense to waste tax dollars on failed marijuana policies that boost the finances of organized crime and facilitate the use of hard drugs.

Drug policy reform may send the wrong message to children, but I like to think the children are more important than the message.

Robert Sharpe
Policy analyst
Common Sense for Drug Policy
Arlington, Va.

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