- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 5, 2011

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The Dec. 31 article “California No. 1 in pot admissions” (Nation) doesn’t mention the fact that more than half of the people seeking treatment for marijuana abuse in the United States are sent there by the criminal justice system. While your story makes it seem that there’s a huge epidemic of people checking themselves into treatment for marijuana abuse, the fact is that many of them are only signing up for treatment because, after being arrested, it is their only option for staying out of jail.

As a former police officer, I would never claim marijuana is harmless. But it’s alarming that we spend so much money on arresting so many people every year for marijuana only to send many of them to treatment they don’t need. In the meantime, there aren’t enough treatment spaces for people struggling with more dangerous substance-abuse issues. What we should do is legalize and regulate marijuana and use the tax revenue to fund drug-treatment programs for people who truly need them.

NEILL FRANKLIN

Executive director

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

White Hall, Md.

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