Pubdate: Sat, 15 Jun 2002
Source: State Journal-Register (IL)
Copyright: 2002 The State Journal-Register
Authors: Larry A. Stevens, Thomas B. Knoelder


Dear Editor,

I'm glad Kate Patton responded to my recent letter criticizing the 
legislation named after her daughter, "Kelley's Law".  Patton and I share 
an intense desire to prevent our children from suffering Kelley's 
fate.  However, we differ vehemently on the appropriate strategy for 
attaining our shared goal.

Patton believes that prohibition helps protect people from drugs, while 
generations of experience tell us that prohibition has only made drugs like 
Ecstasy more dangerous and more readily available to children of all ages.

Patton says that my skydiving comparison eludes her since skydiving is 
legal and Ecstasy is not.  That's circular reasoning on her part. Both 
skydiving and Ecstasy use are potentially lethal risk-taking behaviors 
either of which might be criminalized or not.  The question is whether or 
not criminalizing a risky behavior actually achieves a productive result, 
such as fewer deaths.

Patton has made public statements to the effect that she knew virtually 
nothing about drugs or drug policy before her daughter's death. 
Unfortunately, she still has most of the learning curve ahead of her.  She 
must come to terms with the role that drug prohibition played in her 
daughter's death and her daughter's own measure of 
responsibility.  Unrestrained emotionalism such as Patton's warps 
perception and obscures reason.  It should not be allowed to guide drug policy.

Larry A. Stevens


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State Could Surely Find More 'Sins' To Tax

Dear Editor,

I am well aware that the mere thought of the legalization of marijuana for 
both therapeutic and recreational use scares conservative political groups, 
but simply think of the "sin" tax that could be levied upon it.

The state could levy a tax on the potency of the harvested marijuana, then 
it could levy a tax on it when used for recreational purposes.

If the legislature and the governor are only willing to hike "sin" taxes, 
then why not increase the number of "sins" to be taxed?  How about a 
special entrance tax levied each time a patron enters Deja Vu? Perhaps a 
"length of stay" tax based upon the number of hours a patron remains inside 
Deja Vu?

Thomas B. Knoelder

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