Regarding Ronald Fraser's “Holder's wise choice on fighting marijuana” (Point of View, Oct. 19): The drug war is largely a war on marijuana. In 2011, there were 757,969 marijuana arrests in the United States, almost 90 percent for simple possession. At a time when state and local governments are laying off police, firefighters and teachers, this country continues to spend enormous public resources criminalizing Americans who prefer marijuana to martinis. The result is not lower rates of use.
The United States has higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available. Decriminalization is a long-overdue step in the right direction. Taxing and regulating marijuana would render the drug war obsolete. As long as organized crime controls marijuana distribution, consumers will come into contact with sellers of hard drugs like meth, cocaine and heroin. Marijuana prohibition is a gateway drug policy.
Robert Sharpe, Arlington, Va.
Sharpe is a policy analyst at Common Sense for Drug Policy in Washington, D.C.
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