NY Times

United States: Legalizing Marijuana

Re: "Reefer Madness"(Op-Ed, Nov. 7)

By NEILL FRANKLIN, NY Times Op-Ed Contributor

There is a truth that must be heard! The Obama administration's crackdown on state medical marijuana laws, as Ethan Nadelmann pointed out, does not make "any sense in terms of public safety, health or fiscal policy." Medical marijuana is consistently supported by more than 70 percent of voters. A recent Gallup poll shows that more Americans now want to legalize marijuana altogether than support continued prohibition on adult use.

In an earlier era it may have been a smart move for politicians to act "tough on drugs" and stay far away from legalization. But today, many voters recognize that our prohibition laws don’t do anything to reduce drug use but do create a black market where cartels and gangs use violence to protect their profits.

While some fear that legalization would lead to increased use, those who want to use marijuana are probably already doing so under our ineffective prohibition laws. And when we stop wasting so many resources on locking people up, perhaps we can fund real public education and health efforts of the sort that have led to dramatic reductions in tobacco use over the last few decades — all without having to put handcuffs on anyone.

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