Pubdate: Mon, 01 Apr 2002
Source: Reason Magazine (US)
Copyright: 2002 The Reason Foundation
Authors: Rinehart S. Potts, Michael J. Petro, Mitch Bogen, Peter Webster, 
L. J. Carden, Paul Kelly


Did Nick Gillespie really need to list all the illegal drugs he's used 
(Editor's Note, January)? I have written to reason before about its 
apparent conversion into a druggie fan magazine. My breaking point has been 
reached. Please cancel my subscription.

Gillespie, you and your minions seem unaware of the terrible tragedies that 
follow drug users. In today's society, there is no penalty for what you are 
doing, but I can only hope that you and your crowd are visited by a drugged 
madman with an AK-47.

Rinehart S. Potts, Glassboro, NJ


I thank Nick Gillespie for coming forward with his recreational drug 
history. Perfectly normal Americans have been demonized for far too long by 
the moral zealots who would jail us all for violating their narrow 
sensibilities. The conventional wisdom has also bred many hypocrites-those 
who privately indulge in illicit recreation but publicly rail against drugs 
and their effect on those presumed to be too irresponsible to manage their 
own lives.

I have been a marijuana user for nearly 30 years. I hope that Gillespie's 
refreshing candor helps send a clarion call to all of us to come forward 
with the truth. In order to approach these substances - which have been and 
always will be with us - safely, we need truth and education, not 
propaganda and hysteria.

Michael J. Petro Phoenix, AZ


Drugs of Choice

At the risk of sounding like those who recommend that everyone try Ecstasy 
at least once, I suggest that Jacob Sullum's article on MDMA ("Sex, Drugs, 
and Techno Music," January) should be required reading. Comprehensive, 
balanced, and logical. Bravo.

Mitch Bogen, Somerville, MA


Jacob Sullum mentions that much of supposed MDMA is contaminated or 
actually some combination of other drugs. Back in my days, when LSD was in 
wide circulation, its reliability was much greater, for a couple of reasons.

First, most LSD was circulated on tiny squares of blotter paper (and still 
is). There are few substances in the world that are potent enough to have 
any effect when taken in that quantity, so it would be hard to fit an 
effective dose of even many potent poisons on one of those paper squares. 
Thus "blotter acid" is hard to contaminate or fake with other drugs.

Second, due to LSD's high potency and the fact that it's easy to produce, 
"hippie entrepreneurs with small, portable labs could meet most of the 
market's demand. With MDMA, however, since the effective dose is over 1,000 
times the weight of an LSD dose, all the above is multiplied by the same 
amount. You need a warehouse and a crew of chemists to produce a similar 
number of doses. You also need heavy-duty smugglers. So, as you can 
imagine, MDMA production tends to be controlled by large criminal 
enterprises. By contrast, in the old days, a few strange but usually nobly 
motivated individuals could satisfy the market for LSD. And thus with MDMA 
we see the net effect: contaminated and bogus doses, violent 
confrontations, and the whole spectrum of "harm maximization" produced by 

Peter Webster, International Journal of Drug Policy Auvare, France


Drug War Defectors

I would like to thank Michael Lynch and the three ex-drug warriors he 
interviewed for the refreshingly truthful "Battlefield Conversions" 
(January). The information presented makes one thing undeniable: Some 
government departments have been lying to us for years about the War on 
Drugs. Unfortunately, John Q. Public remains mostly unaware of the depth of 
this deception. Lynch's article should be required reading for every 
taxpaying American voter.

L. J. Carden, Concord, CA


In "Battlefield Conversions," Joseph McNamara relates that when he was 
police chief in San Jose, the city manager didn't budget money for police 
equipment, telling him to raise the funds through drug seizures. McNamara 
says, "So law enforcement becomes a revenue-raising agency...."

You don't have to be a whole lot smarter than a turnip to appreciate that a 
prerequisite for drug profits is  a profitable drug trade. San Jose and 
just about every jurisdiction in the country are betting the police budget 
that there will be a profitable drug trade next year. Making police 
departments profit-sharing partners is the best way I can think of to 
guarantee a profitable drug trade in America.

Paul Kelly, Boulder, CO
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