Pubdate: Wed, 16 May 2001
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2001 News World Communications, Inc.
Author: Mike Wiley


In his vigorous support of new drug czar John P. Walters and the 
continuation of failed drug war policies, columnist Robert Charles bemoans 
the "well-funded legalization movement" ("New drug czar's mission," 
Commentary, May 14). I find it humorous that so paltry a sum as a few 
million dollars has done so much to influence public attitudes. I say 
"paltry" because the opposition (the Drug Enforcement Agency, the FBI, 
Customs, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, etc.) has spent 
untold billions in the pursuit of a drug-free America. Yet drugs are as 
cheap and available as ever.

It is even more ironic that Mr. Charles encourages the new czar to "think 
outside of the box," but at the same time promotes the business as usual 
approach of days gone by. How's this for "outside-the-box" thinking: learn 
from our own history that prohibition causes tremendous problems; 
decriminalize and regulate drugs so that youngsters have less access; 
dismantle all the enforcement agencies, which drain billions of tax 
dollars, and use the money for treatment and education instead; and maybe 
even restore the Bill of Rights, which has been shredded in our pursuit of 
drug users and producers.

The only people benefiting from the drug war are those in the black market 
and those drawing paychecks to stop them. We can only hope that common 
sense eventually prevails.

Mike Wiley, Marshall, Texas
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