Pubdate: Sat, 01 Jul 2000
Source: Liberty Magazine (US)
Copyright: 2000 Liberty Foundation
Contact:  Box 1118, Port Townsend, WA 98368
Author: Robert Sharpe, Myron Von Hollingsworth, Christopher A. Joseph
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 drugs. 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

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 prohibition?

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.



Just remember that the drug czars' jobs depend on the perpetual prosecution
of, but never a victory in, the drug war. Also, remember that the
politicians depend on the drug war and its rhetoric to scare up votes (by
scaring voters). And remember that politicians rely on the drug war to
sustain their constituent industries that depend on the economics of
prohibition in order to make generous profits and campaign contributions
that keep the drug warrior politicians in power and, thereby keep themselves
in business.

Maybe the politicians are required to adhere to the party line of
prohibition because law enforcement, customs, the prison industrial complex,
the drug testing industry, the INS, the CIA, the FBI, the DEA, the
politicians themselves et al can't live without the budget justification,
not to mention the invisible profits, bribery, corruption and forfeiture
benefits that prohibition affords them.

Myron Von Hollingsworth, Fort Worth, Tex.



I just finished reading Paul Rako's hilarious rebuttal of Mr. Barry R.
McCaffrey. He made me laugh so hard I didn't bother smoking the joint I had
ready to go. Since it stopped me from using drugs (today), I suggest you
submit this article to the Office of National Drug Control Policy for credit
in its payola for propaganda program.

Christopher A. Joseph, Parma, Ohio
- ---
MAP posted-by: Doc-Hawk