Letters | Momentum on Marijuana

This particular drug war must be called a failure

RE “POT problems” by Tom Keane (Op-ed, Nov. 18): The voters of Colorado and Washington state have made it clear that the federal government can no longer get away with confusing the drug war’s collateral damage with a comparatively harmless plant. If the goal of marijuana prohibition is to subsidize violent drug cartels, prohibition is a 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 failure.

The United States has double the rate of marijuana use as 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. As a nation, we face a looming fiscal cliff. We can no longer subsidize culture warrior prejudices. It’s time to stop the arrests and instead tax legal marijuana.

Robert Sharpe

Policy analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Arlington, Va.