Another View: Marijuana column overstated risks, downplayed benefits

December 19th, 2010 by admin Leave a reply »

December 19

Another View: Marijuana column overstated risks, downplayed benefits

Pot would be legal if the laws were driven by public health standards instead of culture.

Regarding Mark Publicker’s Maine Voices column, (“Medical marijuana act silent on potential risks,” Nov. 29): If health outcomes determined drug laws instead of cultural norms, marijuana would be legal.


Robert Sharpe, MPA, is a policy analyst with Common Sense for Drug Policy in Arlington, Va.

Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death, nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco.

Marijuana can be harmful if abused, but jail cells are inappropriate as health interventions and ineffective as deterrents.

The first marijuana laws were enacted in response to Mexican immigration during the early 1900s, despite opposition from the American Medical Association.

Dire warnings that marijuana inspires homicidal rages have been counterproductive at best.

White Americans did not even begin to smoke pot until a soon-to-be entrenched federal bureaucracy began funding “reefer madness” propaganda.

Marijuana prohibition has failed miserably as a deterrent. The United States has higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available to adults.

The only clear winners in the war

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