Pubdate: Fri, 16 Jul 2010
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Copyright: 2010 San Jose Mercury News
Author: Larry A. Bedard, MD
Note: Larry A. Bedard, MD, is past president of the American College
of Emergency Medicine and is a California Medical Association
delegate. He wrote this article for this newspaper.
Cited: Proposition 19 http://www.taxcannabis.org/
DECRIMINALIZE MARIJUANA: IT’S FAR LESS HARMFUL THAN ALCOHOL
The California Medical Association in October declared the
criminalization of marijuana to be a failed public health policy. Its
assessment is appropriate.
Marijuana prohibition is a classic case of the so-called cure
(criminalization) being worse than the disease (the private
recreational use of marijuana).
Consider the questionable efficacy of our present policy. Forty-three
percent of Americans over the age of 12 admit to having used
marijuana, and nearly one in 10 Californians use it now. At an
estimated $15 billion, marijuana is California’s largest cash crop.
Now let’s consider the costs of prohibition. In the Golden State,
taxpayers spend $300 million annually to arrest and prosecute 60,000
people — largely Latinos and African-Americans — for possessing
minor, recreational amounts of marijuana. Prohibition is also
empowering drug cartels, particularly criminal enterprises in Mexico,
which now reap between 60 percent and 70 percent of their total
revenue from the exportation of marijuana to America and threaten to
turn Mexico into a “narco” state.