Las Vegas Sun

April 1, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Prohibition doesn’t make much sense

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Nevada had better act fast if it wants to cash in on marijuana tourism. As evidenced by the 2012 elections, the days when our federal government can successfully get away with confusing the drug war’s tremendous collateral damage with a comparatively harmless plant are quickly 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 of marijuana prohibition is to deter use, prohibition is a catastrophic failure. The United States has 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. It’s time to stop the pointless arrests and instead tax legal marijuana.

The author is a policy analyst for Common Sense for Drug Policy.

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  1. Marijuana Prohibition is working just like Alcohol Prohibition did in the 1920s amd early 1930s. It's popularly ignored, creates a wealthy criminal element, and puts many citizens in contact with sources who can offer other illegal substances.

    We didn't learn much from our first failed "noble experiment".

  2. Americans will allow only one illegal drug at a time. And alcohol got here first.

    Carmine D

  3. Marijuana may be legal in the Netherlands but the authorities are considering restrictions especially aimed at the tourist trade. Informal studies find that the Dutch are reserved hen it comes to mj use but the tourists are idiots.....just like tourists everywhere. Here in Washington we are having public meetings and policy discussions about this and other related issues. Seattle basically has a "no-enforcement" policy for personal use which has led to an annual bachannal in Myrtle Edwards Park on the Seattle waterfront on 4/20. As a former bar bouncer I'd much rather be trapped with a bunch of stoners than a bunch of drunks but if I had my choice I wouldn't be around either bunch.

  4. No more "common sense" arguments, please. Let's base our decising making on EVIDENCE.

    The Netherlands and Portugal have studied the drug issue extensively and have volumes of data on the effects of decriminalizing drugs and treating drug use as a health concern.

    We don't need to stumble blindly through this -- we can learn a great deal from these countries.

    If you look at cannabis usage in countries where it is legal and compare it to countries where it is illegal, some studies show the usage is lower in countries where it is been legalized.

    People get titillated by doing things that stretch or break the law. People that like marijuana will use it and people that don't will not. It's not that big a deal.

    There are problems associated with legalizing certain drugs and problems associated with having a vast underground drug based industry.

  6. SgtRock: Go through your comment of 5:42 a.m. Substitute "Heavy alcohol users" wherever you wrote "Heavy weed users." I did it. Your letter is just as applicable that way.

    Perhaps the example of prohibition was simply a fluke. Perhaps we should try it again.

    Oh, that's right! We HAVE tried it again!!! With marijuana this time! Guess the example of prohibition wasn't a fluke after all.

  7. Future:Per your 12:20 p.m. comment that "Liberals pushing that smoking pot is good for you amazing the lengths that they will go to sell us on legal pot "

    Those lengths are almost as extensive as those resorted to by Republican'ts who push the idea of "small government" and "get government off our backs" and then use the government to keep pot illegal, to tell women that they can't heed their doctors, to tell women's doctors that they MUST spew lies to their patients, to push their particular religious mythology onto the rest of us, to insist that pregnant women must undergo, and even pay for, rape by foreign object, etc.

  8. Sarge: Although you don't say so in as many words, you really sound like you're an advocate for repealing the 21st amendment. Prohibition created far more problems than it solved - and those problems were so very similar to those we see from banning drugs. But maybe that WAS a fluke.

  9. "What the hell is wrong with a large number of society that apparently finds no fault with mind-altering substances and utilizes these substances as a part of their normal routines in life?"

    BChap -- and what the hell is wrong with leaving people alone, so long as they're not hurting anyone else?? Or do you need the concept of "pursuing happiness" explained to you? C'mon, Brad, you're better than this. Quit the cop mentality to stamp out all crime everywhere and focus on the meaning of that oath you took twice!

    "Prohibition created far more problems than it solved - and those problems were so very similar to those we see from banning drugs."

    renorobert -- good point, but a lesson lost on nearly all.

    "The struggle for liberty has been a struggle against Government. The essential scheme of our Constitution and Bill of Rights was to take Government off the backs of people." -- Columbia Broadcasting Sys., Inc. v. Democratic Nat'l Comm., 412 U.S. 94, 162 (1973), Justice Douglas concurring