Pubdate: Tue,  5 Jun 2001
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2001 The Denver Post Corp
Author: Joseph S. Kandel, Caroline Bliss-Kandel
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Concerning the controversy over the government drug-enforcement policy,
it is interesting to note who stands to benefit by the continuation of
the policy. The way we see it: Those who gain from the illegalization of
drugs are law enforcement agencies, including police, lawyers and those
involved in the building and maintaining of prisons - which has become a
big business. In addition, the ones who benefit the most financially are
in the drug traffic system (cartels, drug dealers, etc.). It is the
latter group that fights most vehemently for the status quo. It is they
who use the illegality to profit.

One would think that society and government would have learned a lesson
from the Prohibition era, when organized crime in this country profited
from the selling of illegal alcohol. It is amazing to us that drug
dealers and government police agencies team up to allow an unworkable
(and costly) system to continue.

A more enlightened approach to the problem of drug abuse would be to
legalize these drugs and to regulate them as Schedule II and III drugs,
in the way that morphine and Valium and other sub stances with high
potential for abuse are handled now. This would remove the criminal
element from their manufacture. They could then be heavily taxed and the
proceeds used to fund treatment for all addicts, not just the fortunate
few who can pay for such treatment.

On the subject of who benefits financially, it is interesting to note
that two of the most dangerous and addictive drugs, cigarettes and
alcohol, remain legal.

Joseph S. Kandel
Caroline Bliss-Kandel
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