THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
DECRIMINALIZING MARIJUANA

Legal industry stands to lose if laws are changed

October 17, 2010

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REGARDING KEVIN Cullen’s column on marijuana’s decriminalization (“Smoking, guns,’’ Metro, Oct. 12): As many others have attempted to do, Cullen has tried to connect the dots between recent crimes committed in the area and pot’s decriminalization in Massachusetts. The crimes he speaks of occurred for a variety of reasons, the most obvious being the economic hard times we are all facing. If you buy into his argument that the evil weed was the culprit, then, if nothing else, had marijuana been legalized, regulated, taxed, and available, these crimes probably would not have occurred.

Follow the money and you will understand that the main reason pot is still illegal is that too many people in the multibillion-dollar legal industry in this country benefit from its present status. Lawyers, judges, huge law-enforcement agencies, and for-profit prison systems nationwide stand to lose a fortune if Draconian pot laws are altered.

Prohibition didn’t work. Nor do present marijuana laws. Kill the demand side through education and prevention, and take all the money we spend on the arrests, prosecution, and incarceration of marijuana users and sellers, and spend it more wisely.

Stephen M. Berniche
Harwich
The writer is a retired lieutenant in the US Coast Guard.

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