Pubdate: Thu, 06 Jun 2002
Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press (TN)
Copyright: 2002 Chattanooga Publishing Co.
Author: Robert Sharpe


So Dade County cops have turned to drug-sniffing dogs to prevent local 
residents from making unhealthy choices. The steady rise in police searches 
on public transit, drug-sniffing dogs in schools, and suspicionless drug 
testing have led to a loss of privacy, while failing miserably at 
preventing drug use.

Based on findings that criminal records do more harm than marijuana, a 
majority of European Union countries have decriminalized pot. Despite harsh 
penalties and perhaps because of forbidden fruit appeal, lifetime use of 
marijuana is higher in the U.S. than any European country.

The failed drug war threatens the integrity of a country founded on the 
concept of limited government. The "Land of the Free" now has the highest 
incarceration rate in the world, in large part due to the war on some drugs.

At an average cost of $25,071 per inmate annually, maintaining the world's 
largest prison system can hardly be considered fiscally conservative. It's 
not possible to wage a moralistic war against consensual vices unless 
privacy is completely eliminated, along with the Constitution.

America can either be a free country or a "drug-free" country, but not both.


Program Officer

Drug Policy Alliance

Washington, D.C.
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