LETTER: Marijuana use not deterred by banJoe Graves makes the common mistake of assuming that marijuana prohibition actually deters use.
By: Robert Sharpe , Washington, D.C.
To the Editor:
Joe Graves makes the common mistake of assuming that marijuana prohibition actually deters use. The United States has double the rate of marijuana use as the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available to adults. Spain legalized personal use cultivation and has lower rates of use than the U.S. Portugal decriminalized all drugs and still has lower rates of use than the U.S. If anything, marijuana prohibition increases use by creating forbidden fruit appeal.
Thanks to public health education, legal tobacco use has declined considerably, without any need to criminalize smokers or imprison tobacco farmers. The drop in the use of one of the most addictive drugs available occurred despite widespread tobacco availability. The only winners in the war on marijuana are drug cartels and shameless politicians who confuse drug prohibition’s tremendous collateral damage with a plan to scare up votes.
Robert Sharpe is a policy analyst with Common Sense for Drug Policy in