The voters of Colorado and Washington have made it clear 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 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. It's time to stop the arrests and end marijuana prohibition.
Robert Sharpe, Arlington, Va.
Sharpe is policy analyst for Common Sense for Drug Policy in Washington, D.C.(www.csdp.org).