New York Times And MSM Hype Cannabis Poisoned With Lead, But Are They Missing The Larger Point Regarding Prohibition?

NORML’s letter to the editor of New York Times, April 15, 2008:

The April 15, 2008 article ‘Marijuana Smokers Were Poisoned With Lead In Leipzig’ is informative and perfectly underscores the need to legally control cannabis via regulation and taxation, rather than failed prohibition policies.
Seeking even higher profits in the already lucrative, prohibition-fueled business of cannabis distribution, untaxed and unregulated cannabis sellers in Leipzig Germany apparently added lead particles to their bags of cannabis to increase the product’s weight and value. This is hardly a surprise to observers of prohibition economics.
Comparatively, today if a consumer purchased a brand name alcohol, tobacco or pharmaceutical product, and lead was discovered in the retail product, the following will typically occur: The manufacturer immediately takes responsibility and recalls the product; and the company informs the government and media about the recall and consumers are generally protected from harmful or poorly manufactured consumer goods. Further, any consumer harmed by such a consumer product has immediate legal options to seek redress, including lawsuits where financial compensation is sought.
Unfortunately, the policy of prohibiting one of America’s most popular commodities—cannabis—asserts no real legal or quality controls over the popular product (i.e., no control over who cultivates and sells it; no control over who uses it and under what circumstances; no regulation of its purity or potency; and prohibition provides no means of communications between product manufacturers, government consumer regulatory agencies and consumers.
Let the ‘Lead of Leipzig’ serve as a warning why elected officials should explore alternative policies to cannabis prohibition.
Allen St. Pierre
Executive Director
Washington, DC