LETTER: Time to tax legal marijuana

U.S. analyst Robert Sharpe argues against the drug war.

Re: “Here come the post dispensaries

Not only should medical marijuana be available in Nelson, but all adult use should be legal, taxed and regulated. Marijuana prohibition is indefensible. Neighboring US states have legalized marijuana; Ottawa can no longer claim Canada must uphold marijuana prohibition in order to maintain good US relations. Consider the experience of Canada’s southern neighbour. The US has almost double the lifetime rate of marijuana use as the Netherlands where marijuana has been legally available for decades.

If the goal is to deter use, marijuana prohibition is a catastrophic failure. If the goal is to subsidize violent drug cartels and open a gateway to the hard drugs they sell, marijuana prohibition is a grand success.

The drug war distorts supply and demand dynamics so that big money grows on little trees. The criminalization of citizens who prefer marijuana to martinis has no basis in science. The war on cannabis consumers is a failed cultural inquisition, not an evidence-based public health campaign. It’s time to stop the pointless arrests and instead tax legal marijuana.

Robert Sharpe, MPA

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, DC

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