Pubdate: Fri, 16 Nov 2001
Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Copyright: 2001 The Seattle Times Company
Author: Robert Sharpe, Danny Terwey, and Chuck Beyer
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Feds, Focus Your Raids On Real Threat

David Broder's Nov. 11 column on the recent U.S. Drug Enforcement 
Administration raid on a California medicalmarijuana club highlighted the 
absurdity of waging a $50 billion war on consensual vices at a time when 
the country faces the all-too-real threat of international terrorism 
(Strange bust suggests skewed DEA priorities," Times).

Not only should medical marijuana be made available to patients in need, 
but adult-recreational use should be regulated as well. The reason for this 
is simple: Leaving the distribution of popular recreational drugs in the 
hands of organized crime puts children at great risk.

Sensible regulation is desperately needed to undermine the thriving black 
market. Attempts to limit the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains 
constant only increases the profitability of drug trafficking. In terms of 
addictive drugs like meth, a rise in street prices leads desperate addicts 
to increase criminal activity to feed desperate habits. The drug war 
doesn't fight crime, it fuels crime.

Taxing and regulating the sale of marijuana to adults is a cost- effective 
alternative. In Europe, the Netherlands has successfully reduced overall 
drug use by replacing marijuana prohibition with adult 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 
enforceable age controls for marijuana has proven more effective than zero 

Robert Sharpe

Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation, Washington, D.C.

Steer Clear Of States' Rights

You've done your readers a big favor by including David Broder's column on 
the DEA war against medical marijuana. We have been informed by President 
Bush that this is a states' rights issue. But presidential subordinates are 
still persecuting cancer patients by stealing their medicine. So has Bush 
changed his mind, or is he actually not the president?

Danny Terwey

Santa Cruz, Calif.

Ashcroft's Agenda

This excellent column by David Broder really exemplifies the misplaced 
priorities in going after America's sick and dying instead of far- 
more-important priorities.

But it does not ask why Attorney General John Ashcroft would suddenly go 
after the medical-marijuana dispensaries. However, once you realize that 
his Cabinet colleague Donald Rumsfeld, secretary of defense, is also the 
former CEO of Searle Pharmaceuticals, it all starts to fall into place. 
History repeats itself.

Chuck Beyer

Victoria, B.C.
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