Pubdate: Thu, 10 Jan 2002
Source: Newsday (NY)
Copyright: 2002 Newsday Inc.
Author: Dr. Tom O'Connell


Thank you for publishing Jefferson's Fish's comments on how it's especially 
inappropriate to prosecute our feckless drug war in the wake of the 
destructive September terrorist attacks that greatly stressed an already 
troubled U.S. economy ["Divert Drug-Bust Money to War on Terrorism," Jan. 2].

As Fish points out, the enormous cost of arresting and imprisoning 
nonviolent drug users - steep enough when the economy is robust - is even 
less affordable during a recession.

Despite some earlier presidential hints to the contrary, George W. Bush's 
choices for attorney general, Drug Enforcement Agency administrator and 
drug czar certainly didn't indicate that any moderation of existing policy 
was in the offing. That impression was further strengthened by DEA moves to 
shut down two distribution facilities for medical cannabis in California - 
"buyers' clubs" - which had been operating in an exemplary fashion under 
the new state law.

That federal officials are also cognizant of how unpopular their policies 
are with the public is also painfully obvious: Although both clubs' records 
have been impounded and their patients forced to either do without or 
patronize the black market, no charges have been filed.

Is this "compassionate conservatism" in action?

Tom O'Connell MD

Editor's Note: The writer is a doctor. San Mateo, Calif.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Derek