Alternative to quasi-legal herbs

Arlington, Virginia

Regarding the Aug. 7 article “Curbs afoot as narcotic quasi-legal herbs slip through regulatory cracks“: The increased use of synthetic cannabinoids is an unintended side effect of the war on natural marijuana. Consumers are turning to potentially toxic drugs made in China and sold as research chemicals before they are repackaged as legal incense.

Expanding the drug war will only increase criminal justice costs during an economic downturn. Chemists will tweak formulas to stay one step ahead of the law and two steps ahead of the drug tests. New versions of synthetic drugs won’t be safer. Misguided efforts to protect children from drugs are putting children at risk.

A better solution is to legalize organic marijuana.

Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death. Nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco. Taxing and regulating marijuana would eliminate the demand for synthetic marijuana, provide consumers with a comparatively safe alternative to alcohol and close the gateway to hard drugs by taking marijuana distribution out of the hands of organized crime. Marijuana may be relatively harmless, but marijuana prohibition is deadly.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

robert sharpe