‘Highs and lows of legalised marijuana’

Mon, Jul 21, 2014, 01:10

Sir, – Further to Simon Carswell’s “The highs and lows of legalised marijuana” (July 12th), which examined the legal status of the drug in the US, it is clear that the days when politicians could get away with confusing the drug war’s tremendous collateral damage with a comparatively harmless plant are coming to an end. If the goal of marijuana prohibition is to subsidise violent drug cartels and open a gateway to the harder drugs they sell, prohibition is a grand 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 catastrophic failure.

Consider the experience of the former land of the free and current record holder in citizens incarcerated. The United States has almost double the rate of marijuana use as the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available. The criminalisation of people 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. Ireland should follow the lead of Colorado and Washington state. It’s time to stop the pointless arrests and instead tax legal marijuana. – Yours, etc,

ROBERT SHARPE,

Common Sense

for Drug Policy,

PO Box 59181,

Washington, DC.