Dear Senator:

Some very disturbing facts have recently come to my attention regarding the so-called war on drugs. Every year more than 300,000 people are arrested in this country for violating the marijuana laws. Yet in more than 8,000 years of known usage, no one has ever died or become seriously ill from marijuana. In fact, a federal judge has said that marijuana is one of the safest substances on the planet.

If this is the case, why are we tying up billions of dollars in law enforcement hours and court costs pursuing a virtually harmless weed? If tobacco and alcohol can account for more than 400,000 deaths a year -- and still be legally regulated -- why can't we do the same for marijuana?

Even more disturbing is the fact that the marijuana plant is the best and cheapest source of paper on the planet. Since 1938, we have hacked down half the forest in the world to make paper from wood pulp. This strikes me as a criminal waste of our resources.

As a taxpayer, I urge you to draw up a bill legalizing the personal use of marijuana for adults and enabling mills to use marijuana plants to make paper.