Pubdate: Wed, 13 Feb 2002
Source: Duluth News-Tribune (MN)
Copyright: 2002 Duluth News-Tribune
Author: Robert Sharpe
Note: The writer is a program officer for the Drug Policy Alliance in 
Washington, D.C.


Regarding your Feb. 5 editorial, "New campaign highlights effects of U.S. 
drug use'': The Office of National Drug Control Policy's $3.6 million worth 
of Super Bowl ads was an opportunistic attempt to link the increasingly 
unpopular war on drugs to the overwhelmingly popular war on terrorism.

The most popular recreational drug and the one most often associated with 
domestic violence was advertised throughout the Super Bowl. That drug is 
alcohol, and it kills more Americans every year than all illegal drugs 
combined. Alcohol prohibition once financed organized crime, but that's no 
reason to reinstate it.

The drug-control policy office is cynically using the drug war's collateral 
damage to justify increased spending during an economic recession. The most 
popular illicit drug is domestically grown marijuana, which pays for an 
untaxed cottage industry and cross-border drug cartels, not international 
terrorists. Unlike alcohol, pot has never been shown to cause an overdose 
death, nor does it share the addictive properties of nicotine. As far as I 
can tell, the only reason for not taxing and regulating the sale of 
marijuana to adults is that doing so would derail the drug war gravy train.

Our gateway policy guarantees job security for drug war bureaucrats. As 
long as marijuana remains illegal and distributed by organized crime, 
consumers will continue to come into contact with harder drugs like cocaine 
and heroin, drugs that really do finance terrorism.


The writer is a program officer for the Drug Policy Alliance in Washington, 
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