Cannabis Campaign: Letter

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Indy Lifestyle Online
I want to thank you for your paper's effort to reform the marijuana laws. As an attorney and elected official (US), I've seen first-hand the cruel and unnecessary damage done by the "war on drug users". Indeed, like alcohol prohibition (in the USA) before it, the so-called drug war has caused more individual and societal harm than the abuse of drugs ever could. In particular, it is most inhumane, illogical and fiscally wasteful to imprison those who consume marijuana, when by every scientific and anecdotal standard it is far less toxic and addictive than either alcohol or tobacco.

The specious argument that marijuana use somehow leads to the use of harder drugs (the "gateway theory") is especially troublesome. In Holland, where marijuana use is not prosecuted, a lower percentage of young people use marijuana than in other countries where its use is criminalised. In fact, to the degree that there is any correlation between marijuana use and use of harder drugs, it exists because marijuana users must now obtain their marijuana from the same criminal element that provides the harder, more dangerous drugs.

Everyone's goal should be to reduce the availability of drugs to our children and the harm associated with substance abuse. Unfortunately, by continuing to promote the failed policy of prohibition, the "drug warriors" guarantee that that can't and won't happen.

Richard D Elrick

Cape Cod, USA