Pubdate: Thu, 18 Jul 2002
Source: Capital Times, The  (WI)
Copyright: 2002 The Capital Times
Author: Bernard Dalsey


Kudos to John Nichols for the excellent column on July 9 regarding the war 
on drugs, comparing and contrasting the situation in the US and Britain.

As a Wisconsin Green Party candidate for the 43rd Assembly District, I am 
one of the minority of candidates who unequivocally call for an end to the 
destructive and expensive war on drugs. With a prison budget of a billion 
dollars a year, and over 25% of prisoners being non-violent drug offenders, 
at what point will the taxpayers take umbrage and no longer vote for the 
Republicans and overwhelming majority of Democrats who continue to 
perpetuate this idiocy? When medical marijuana is a stretch for these 
so-called "compassionate" legislators, what can be said?

Our nation leads the world in per capita incarceration. The effect on the 
social fabric in poor communities is devastating. While rapists, murderers, 
child molesters, scam artists, etc. go about their evil deeds, law 
enforcement pursues the war on drugs. When will the CIA, which brought 
cocaine into the country by the military planeload, be prosecuted? When 
will the corporate prison industry be shackled? Our streets are less safe, 
not safer, due to the "war on drugs".

Just as alcohol prohibition bred organized crime, the current drug war 
feeds the criminals and leads addicts to rob to pay for their habits. It's 
long overdue that marijuana be legalized in a manner similar to alcohol 
(hence taxed), and that hard drugs be treated as a medical rather than law 
enforcement problem. Only then will addicts have a chance for treatment to 
turn their fractured lives around.

Given the bipartisan "Rave Act" which just came out of committee in the US 
Senate, informed citizens must conclude that both major parties are 
bankrupt on this issue, despite a small minority (of generally Democrats) 
to the contrary.

If George Washington were growing hemp at Mount Vernon today, he would be 
carted away by the Drug Enforcement Administration. It certainly makes one 
wonder about the state of freedom in this "land of the free".

Bernard Dalsey

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