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Prohibition fallout

EDITOR: The only reason marijuana is grown in residential neighborhoods is because large-scale outdoor farming remains prohibited ("Wake up and smell the pot," Sunday). Indoor operations are a direct result of marijuana prohibition. Legitimate farmers do not grow tomatoes in suburban basements. Driving cultivation further underground is not the answer.

Not only should medical marijuana be made available to those in need, but adult recreational use should be regulated. Drug policies modeled after alcohol prohibition have given rise to a youth-oriented black market. Illegal drug dealers don't ID for age, but they do recruit minors immune to adult sentences. So much for protecting the children.

Throwing more money at the problem is no solution. Attempts to limit the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains constant only increase the profitability of trafficking. The drug war doesn't fight crime, it fuels crime.

Taxing and regulating marijuana, the most popular illicit drug, is a cost-effective alternative to a never-ending drug war. As long as marijuana distribution is controlled by organized crime, consumers will come into contact with hard drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin. This "gateway" is a direct result of marijuana prohibition.

ROBERT SHARPE

Policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington


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