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February 3, 2013 at 7:00 AM

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Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Eric Holder discuss marijuana

Criminalizing marijuana aids crime

So U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has warned Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee against allowing marijuana to leak out [“Inslee encouraged by marijuana talk with feds,” page one, Jan. 23]. Does Holder truly believe that neighboring Oregon and British Columbia are currently marijuana-free?

Or is it somehow preferable that marijuana consumers in other states continue to purchase untaxed, unregulated and potentially unsafe marijuana from criminals? It’s almost as if our federal government is intent on protecting cartel market share.

As long as cartels control marijuana distribution, consumers will be exposed to illegal cocaine, meth and heroin. By taxing and regulating legal marijuana, Washington state will effectively close the gateway to hard drugs. That’s a good thing.

While I can appreciate the need for Washington state to proceed with caution, Washington, D.C., needs to stop pretending that marijuana prohibition does anything other than subsidize organized crime.

--Robert Sharpe, policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington, D.C.


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