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Prohibition madness I

| Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Jean Thimons, writer of the letter “Marijuana madness” (Oct. 10 and TribLIVE.com), appears addicted to reefer madness. Fortunately, this condition is not contagious.

Never in modern history has there existed greater public support for ending the nation's nearly century-long experiment with pot prohibition and replacing it with a system of legalization and regulation.

Recent nationwide surveys by Pew and Gallup — as well as statewide polls in Arizona, California, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, Oregon and Texas — all report majority support among voters for legalizing adult cannabis consumption.

Despite 76 years of federal cannabis prohibition, Americans' demand for the plant is here to stay. It is time for America's public policies to reflect this reality.

Unlike the federal government, which stubbornly defines cannabis as an illegal commodity that is as equally dangerous as heroin, most Americans desire a more commonsense approach.

A pragmatic regulatory framework that allows for the legal, licensed commercial production and retail sale of cannabis to adults but restricts its use among young people — coupled with a legal environment that fosters open, honest dialogue between parents and children about cannabis's potential harms — best reduces the risks associated with the plant's use or abuse.

The ongoing criminalization of cannabis only compounds these risks.

Paul Armentano

Washington, D.C.

The writer is deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (norml.org).

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