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Failed cultural inquisition

| Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Regarding the editorial “Legalizing marijuana: Sensible steps” (Feb. 9 and TribLIVE.com): The people of Colorado and Washington state are way ahead of the politicians in Washington, D.C.

If the goal of marijuana prohibition is to subsidize violent drug cartels, prohibition is a grand success. The drug war distorts supply-and-demand dynamics so that big money grows on little trees.

If the goal of marijuana prohibition is to deter use, prohibition is a catastrophic failure. The United States has double the rate of use in the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available. The criminalization of Americans 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.

It's time to stop the pointless arrests and instead tax legal marijuana.

Robert Sharpe

Washington, D.C.

The writer is a policy analyst with Common Sense for Drug Policy (csdp.org).

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