Pubdate: Sat, 19 Oct 2002
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2002 The Washington Post Company
Author: Bruce McKinney
Note: Title by MAP
Bookmark: (Hutchinson, Asa)


Thanks to Asa Hutchinson, director of the Drug Enforcement Administration, 
for making the case for drug regulation and taxation. Of course, Hutchinson 
never intended to make this case. He favors the drug anarchy that we now 
see in our cities and even in small towns. But his description of a London 
neighborhood where drugs sales are tolerated on the streets is all too 

Whether or not drug possession is banned, police are unable to control or 
eliminate the black market. Hutchinson tries to pretend that the problems 
he describes are unique to this neighborhood and that they appeared when 
police relaxed marijuana enforcement. But an unbiased observer can see the 
same problems in any American city, and in particular in American high schools.

We have tried Hutchinson's formula -- drug enforcement combined with 
anti-drug messages -- for many years, but the problems get worse, not 
better. The solution is tough regulation that takes drugs out of the black 
market and controls access by teenagers. Adults can make their own 
decisions about the risks and benefits of drugs. Although alcohol is our 
most dangerous drug, millions of American adults use it responsibly under a 
regulated system. A similar system could work for marijuana, which is less 
dangerous and is usually used in moderation.

Under a regulated system, teenagers would at least have to fool an adult 
(as they do for alcohol) instead of simply buying drugs from other teenagers.

Bruce McKinney
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MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager