Pubdate: Sat, 01 Jul 2000
Date: 07/01/2000
Source: Liberty Magazine (US)
Author: Robert Sharpe
Note: Headline by Newshawk


In Paul Rako's excellent analysis of Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey's
illogical support of failed drug policies, he asks why some drugs are
demonized while others are A-OK. The answer is really quite simple.

The goal of a "drug-free" America only applies to certain

Specifically, natural drugs which cannot be patented by the
pharmaceutical industry, one of the most powerful lobbies in
Washington, D.C. New lifestyle drugs are routinely granted fast-track
FDA approval, while marijuana, which has been used medicinally and
recreationally for thousands of years, allegedly requires further
research studies.

In the short time the blatantly recreational drug Viagra has been on
the market it has already killed more people than marijuana, a
relatively benign drug whose pharmacological qualities have never been
shown to cause a death. Nationwide, cancer and AIDS patients are being
locked up at the taxpayers' expense for smoking medical marijuana,
while 2-year-olds are prescribed Ritalin and anti-depressants. So much
for protecting the children.

If McCaffrey is truly concerned about children's access to drugs he
might want to reconsider marijuana legalization. Current drug policy
is, in effect, a gateway drug policy.

While there is nothing inherent in the marijuana plant that compels
users to try harder drugs, its black market status puts users in
contact with unscrupulous individuals who push hard drugs.

Equally disturbing is the manner in which children have an easier time
purchasing marijuana than beer. Given that marijuana is increasingly
recognized as being safer than alcohol or tobacco -- it is impossible
die from a marijuana overdose -- why not end marijuana

The answer, of course, is culture.

The marijuana leaf represents the counterculture to Americans who
would like to turn the clock back to the 1950s. This misguided culture
war has gone on long enough.

As counterintuitive as it may seem, legalizing marijuana would both
limit access and separate the hard and soft drug markets which serve
to introduce youth to the truly deadly drugs.

Robert Sharpe,
Washington, D.C.