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Letter to the Editor 11-27
Warren County should decriminalize marijuana
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TO THE EDITOR:
It is time to decriminalize marijuana for personal use in this county!
Just so you know that I am not advocating for myself on this issue so I can sit around and smoke marijuana before going to court, I would point out I have never smoked anything, consumed alcohol or used any drugs of any kind, including marijuana.
I do have an awful addiction to SunDrops, which I know I shouldn’t drink, but alas my willpower is waning on that issue.
The reason I say we should decriminalize marijuana is that the war on drugs has not worked and never will work. It is silly for someone to receive a criminal record for something that is now legal in many states.
I am not saying it is OK to smoke pot while you wait in line at Walmart. No, I am saying if you are found to be in possession of a small amount of marijuana that you pay a standard fine and court cost in the same way that you pay a speeding ticket.
I’m sure it will surprise you as much as it surprised me to learn almost 1-in-3 Americans now have some sort of criminal record. I would argue most of these criminal convictions are for issues such as simple possession of drugs and driving offenses such as driving on a suspended license, etc. 
Obviously, we can’t put everyone in jail. It doesn’t work.
The war on drugs hasn’t worked in close to 50 years now since President Nixon declared war on drugs.  Hasn’t it really just gotten worse during that time?
Can we not try my way for a while? I promise you it couldn’t get any worse than it is now, and I assure you it will get better.
Wouldn’t you rather have more space available in prison for murderers, rapists and child molesters than someone who has been caught repeatedly with drugs?
I know what the opposing argument is going to be: Pot leads to hard drugs. Well, does alcohol lead to hard drugs? I would argue it does not, yet it is legal.
I would argue marijuana doesn’t automatically lead someone to use hard drugs either. I’m not saying legalize all drugs, not even pot. I am saying decriminalize small amounts of pot so we can quit clogging up our court system, the jail and providing a lot of young people with a criminal record when they are just starting out in life. Life is hard as it is. Do we purposely want to make it harder?
Sincerely,
Bud Sharp
Attorney at Law
College Street
McMinnville