What is America smoking?
By Rhonda Swan, Palm Beach Post Editorial Writer, 3/13/09
...As for the arguments against decriminalizing marijuana, most have been debunked. More people smoke pot in the U.S. than in the Netherlands, where it's been decriminalized - you can buy and smoke weed at coffee shops - for more than 30 years. Decriminalizing it in the U.S. isn't likely to entice hordes of new smokers.
There's no convincing scientific evidence that the drug causes psychological damage, and fewer than 1 percent of smokers get hooked. Marijuana poses minimal damage to the lungs - a lot less than legal tobacco - and there's no proof that it's a gateway drug to crack or heroin.
Marijuana laws have outlived their potency
Palm Beach Post Editorial, Wednesday, 3/18/09
...public safety is reduced because of the prohibition.
My profession [law enforcement] spends literally millions of hours chasing the Michael Phelpses of the world and their suppliers. Every such hour spent means less time for the deadly DUI, the rapist, the child molester, the people flying airplanes into buildings.
Moreover, I know that the state, through its police force, cannot stop personal stupidity done in the privacy of one's home. Only family and friends can stop such behavior. My profession must return to its original task: public safety.