"As fire rages, the law protects us from marijuana,"
Kudos to Peter Schrag's common-sense call to tax and regulate cannabis.
Despite the millions of tax dollars spent during last week's
"Operation Southern Sweep," not one arrest was made by law
enforcement, and the availability of marijuana in Northern California
remains as plentiful as ever.
Let's acknowledge reality. The criminal classification of cannabis is
disproportionate to its relative harmlessness to the user and to the
well-acknowledged harmfulness of other substances - particularly
alcohol and tobacco.
The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that nearly 100
million Americans have tried cannabis, and relatively few have
suffered deleterious health effects because of their use.
Criminalizing these millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens is
expensive, engenders disrespect for the law and alienates large
numbers of the population - particularly young people.
A wiser national policy would regulate cannabis in a manner similar
to alcohol - with the drug's sale and use restricted to specific
markets and consumers. While such an alternative may not entirely
eliminate the black market demand for pot, it would certainly be
preferable to today's impotent criminal prohibition and would
eliminate the need for more federal boondoggles like "Operation
Paul Armentano, Vallejo
Deputy Director, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws
Pubdate: Tue, 8 Jul 2008
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Copyright: 2008 The Sacramento Bee
Author: Paul Armentano