Pubdate: Sun, 16 Jun 2002
Source: Gaston Gazette, The (NC)
Copyright: 2002 The Gaston Gazette
Author: Robert Sharpe, M.P.A.
Bookmark: (ONDCP Media Campaign)


Editor's note: The writer is program officer for the Drug Policy Alliance.

This is in response to editorial "Not exactly a revolution" (May 31).

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's long-overdue shift in priorities may 
not be a revolution, but at least the FBI acknowledges that international 
terrorism poses a far greater societal threat than consensual vices like 
drug use. While the FBI is trying to make amends, the federal Drug 
Enforcement Administration is seeking to cash in on America's tragedy. Our 
government's latest anti-drug campaign seeks to link the war on drugs to 
the war on terrorism. The drug-terror ad campaign first premiered amidst 
beer commercials during the Super Bowl. Like the modern-day drug war, 
alcohol prohibition once financed organized crime. In the case of countries 
like Afghanistan and Colombia, drug prohibition also finances terrorism. 
With drug war budgets at risk during a time of shifting national 
priorities, government bureaucrats are cynically using the drug war's 
collateral damage to justify more of the same.

The illicit drug of choice in America is domestic marijuana, not Afghan 
heroin or Colombian cocaine. Drug war bureaucrats know this. The 
opportunistic drug-terror rhetoric coming out of Washington may lead naive 
Americans to conclude that marijuana smokers are somehow responsible for 
September 11. That's no accident.

Taxing and regulating marijuana would derail the drug war gravy train. As 
long as marijuana remains illegal and distributed by organized crime, 
consumers will continue to come into contact with cocaine and heroin. 
Naturally the government bureaucrats whose jobs depend on never-ending drug 
war prefer to blame the plant itself for the alleged "gateway" to hard drugs.

Pew Research poll findings (verifies majority of Americans feel drug war is 
lost cause):

Robert Sharpe, M.P.A. Washington, D.C.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom