To the editor: Regarding Paul Carpenter's Feb. 19 column, if the goal of marijuana prohibition is to subsidize violent drug cartels, prohibition is a grand success. The drug war distorts supply and demand dynamics so that big money grows on little trees.

If the goal of marijuana prohibition is to deter use, prohibition is a catastrophic failure. The United States has double the rate of use as the Netherlands, where marijuana is legally available. The criminalization of Americans who prefer marijuana to martinis has no basis in science.

The war on marijuana consumers is a failed cultural inquisition, not an evidence-based public health campaign.

This country can no longer afford to subsidize the prejudices of culture warriors. It's time to stop the arrests and instead tax legal marijuana.

I offer these links as further information.

- 2008 WHO survey confirming higher rates of use in United States: http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050141

-United Nations drug stats: http://www.unodc.org/

- Comparative analysis of U.S. vs. Dutch rates of drug use: http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Netherlands_v_US

Sincerely,

Robert Sharpe

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.