Pubdate: Tue, 06 Mar 2001
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA)
Copyright: 2001 Richmond Newspapers Inc.
Contact:  P.O. Box 85333, Richmond, VA 23293
Fax: (804) 775-8072
Author: Robert Alexander


Editor, Times-Dispatch: In a recent In Brief, there was lamentation of the 
fact that young people can buy illegal drugs more easily than they can buy 
alcohol. Your conclusion was further to escalate the war on drugs. I have a 
different take: Prohibition doesn't work, and the fact you presented proves 

A dealer of prohibited drugs does not check the identification of his 
customers the way a regulated alcohol dealer does. If marijuana, cocaine, 
and other drugs were available to adults in our regulated liquor stores, 
the criminal market would be a fraction of what it is now. There would not 
be the inflated profits dealers of prohibited drugs now make, which would 
end most of the drug-related violence. The drugs would be clean and 
regulated, with safety information provided, making the users much safer. 
Recreational drugs for adults could be taxed enough to pay for all mental 
health and drug-abuse treatment, and still undercut the illicit market. 
Abstainers would not have to pay for other people's drug abuse any more.

But we will continue to use police power to (try to) keep drug users from 
pursuing pleasure. We will punish the rebels at the cost of our own 
constitutional freedoms. The problem is that prohibition doesn't work, as 
the drug-using segment of our society will continue to want its freedom. 
Let's end the drug war, and restore freedom of choice in the personal sphere.

Robert Alexander, Chester
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