Pubdate: Wed, 03 Oct 2001
Source: Daily Independent, The (KY)
Copyright: 2001 The Daily Independent, Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe


The work of the FIVCO Area Drug Enforcement Task Force is no doubt 
well-intended but ultimately counterproductive. Attempts to limit the 
supply of illegal drugs while demand remains constant only increase the 
profitability of drug trafficking.

In terms of addictive drugs like meth, a spike in street prices leads 
desperate addicts to increase criminal activity to feed desperate habits. 
The drug war doesn't fight crime, it fuels crime. FADE's use of tax dollars 
to fund undercover drug buys is a questionable use of scarce resources.

With alcohol prohibition repealed, liquor producers no longer gun each 
other down in drive-by shootings, nor do consumers go blind drinking 
unregulated bathtub gin.

The crime, corruption and overdose deaths attributed to drugs are all 
direct results of drug prohibition. Drug policies designed to protect 
children have given rise to a youth-oriented black market.  Unlike 
legitimate businesses that sell liquor, drug dealers do not ID for age.

In Europe, the Netherlands has successfully reduced overall drug use by 
replacing marijuana prohibition with regulation. Dutch rates of drug use 
are significantly lower than U.S. rates in every category. Separating the 
hard and soft drug markets and establishing age controls for marijuana have 
proven more effective than zero tolerance.

Although marijuana is relatively harmless compared to alcohol - pot has 
never been shown to cause an overdose death - marijuana prohibition is 
deadly. As the most popular illicit drug, marijuana provides the black 
market contacts that introduce consumers to hard drugs like meth.

This "gateway" is the direct result of a fundamentally flawed policy. 
Taxing and regulating marijuana is a cost-effective alternative to spending 
tens of billions annually on a failed drug war.

Robert Sharpe
Program Officer
The Lindesmith Center
Drug Policy Foundation
Washington, D.C.
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