Pubdate: Fri, 19 Apr 2002
Source: Big Sandy News, The (KY)
Copyright: 2002 The Big Sandy News
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)



In response to the April 17 Big Sandy News article entitled "Meth Law Is 
Unenforceable, Attorney Says": Kentucky's hazardous methamphetamine labs 
are reminiscent of the deadly exploding liquor stills that sprung up 
throughout the nation during alcohol prohibition. Throwing more money at 
the problem is no solution.

Forcibly limiting the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains constant 
only increases the profitability of drug trafficking. In terms of addictive 
drugs like meth, a spike in street prices leads desperate addicts to 
increase criminal activity to feed desperate habits. The drug war doesn't 
fight crime, it fuels crime. Taxing and regulating marijuana, the most 
popular illicit drug and arguably Kentucky's number one cash crop, is a 
cost-effective alternative to never-ending drug wars.

There is a big difference between condoning marijuana use and protecting 
children from drugs. Decriminalization acknowledges the social reality of 
marijuana use and frees users from the stigma of life-shattering criminal 

What's really needed is a regulated market with age controls. Right now 
kids have an easier time buying pot than beer. Separating the hard and soft 
drug markets is critical. Marijuana may be relatively harmless compared to 
legal alcohol - pot has never been shown to cause an overdose death - but 
marijuana prohibition is deadly.  As long as marijuana distribution remains 
in the hands of organized crime, consumers will continue to come into 
contact with hard drugs like meth.

Drug policy reform may send the wrong message to children, but I like to 
think the children themselves are more important than the message. 
Opportunistic tough-on-drugs politicians would no doubt disagree.

Robert Sharpe, M.P.A.,
Program Officer Drug Policy Alliance Washington, DC
- ---
MAP posted-by: Alex