To the editor of THE EAGLE:
Regarding Clarence Fanto’s Jan. 26 column, "For teens, it’s one toke over the line," the days when politicians can get away with confusing the drug war’s tremendous collateral damage with a comparatively harmless plant are coming to an end. 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 is to deter use, marijuana prohibition is a catastrophic failure. The United States has almost double the rate of marijuana use as the Netherlands, where marijuana is legal. 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.
This country can no longer afford to subsidize the prejudices of culture warriors. Not just in Colorado and Washington state but throughout the nation, it’s time to stop the pointless arrests and instead tax legal marijuana.
The writer is a policy analyst for Common Sense for Drug Policy.