Pubdate: Thu, 25 Jul 2002
Source: Eugene Weekly (OR)
Copyright: 2002 Eugene Weekly
Author: Robert Sharpe, MPA


As noted in Melissa Lewis' excellent July 4th column, the latest White 
House Office of National Drug Control Policy ad campaign seeks to link the 
war on drugs to the war on terrorism. International terrorists have caught 
on to something Al Capone learned in the 1920s during alcohol prohibition: 
There are enormous profits to be made on the black market.

The illicit drug of choice in America is domestically grown marijuana, not 
Afghan heroin or Colombian cocaine. Drug war bureaucrats know this. So do 
teenagers. Hysterical anti-drug claims have zero credibility among 
skeptical youth. The government's drug-terror ads are a shameless attempt 
to garner support for a flawed drug war 74 percent of Americans feel is a 
lost cause. At the expense of national unity, drug warriors are trying to 
convince Americans who consider substance abuse a public health issue that 
many of their friends and family members are threats to national security.

The opportunistic drug-terror rhetoric may lead Americans to mistakenly 
conclude that marijuana smokers are somehow responsible for Sept. 11th. 
That's likely no accident. Taxing and regulating marijuana would render the 
drug war obsolete. As long as marijuana remains illegal and distributed by 
organized crime, consumers will continue to come into contact with hard 
drugs like 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.

Robert Sharpe, MPA

Drug Policy Alliance,

Washington, D.C. 
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