Pubdate: Sun, 28 Apr 2002
Source: Metrowest Daily News (MA)
Address: 33 New York Avenue, Framingham, MA 01701
Contact:  2002, MetroWest Daily News and Herald Interactive Advertising
Fax: (508)626-4400
Author: Frederick Chase Jr.
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


It is ironic that a marijuana (MJ) drug bust receives front page, color 
photo, top of the fold billing in the same issue (Monday, April 18) as 
Deroy Murdock's column blasting "This shopworn (drug) policy." I have never 
drawn a puff on a roach much less inhaled, but I am with Murdock.

The front page article is in the category of "so, what else is new?" 
Obviously, the real news is not being reported and that is how much of this 
stuff (MJ) is getting through the law enforcement net. Of course, no one 
knows and the traffickers are not holding press conferences. But with some 
analysis using at least the law of supply and demand we know the demand for 
the stuff (MJ) is being met.

Over the decades the price has trended down and the strength has trended 
up. For kids MJ may be more available than alcohol.

The pushers aren't checking ID's. Have you heard of anyone pushing alcohol 
on the street? Although the traffickers and the pushers are not furnishing 
statistics (or paying sales taxes or taxes on the huge income made) we know 
from the law of supply and demand that vastly more MJ is getting through to 
customers than is being confiscated or interdicted. All the laws in the 
country to the contrary notwithstanding. That is the real news!

For decades we have been reading about huge drug busts to reach the goal of 
a "Drug Free America." That is as likely as reaching a "Murder Free 
America." Obviously, we are not going to decriminalize murder, but MJ? Give 
me a break.

The country is awash in drugs - illegal and legal. Alcohol does far more 
damage to the country.

Tobacco (nicotine) does far more damage to the country than MJ and alcohol 

If we want to criminalize a popular drug criminalize tobacco (nicotine) or 
criminalize alcohol.

Of course, we did criminalize alcohol some 70 years ago. It was called 
Prohibition. As history tells us it did not work too well. But maybe we are 
smarter now with our modern communications and well trained SWAT teams.

Hey, I am kidding.

Of course, the politicians have a terrible time with this concept, at least 
in public, except for a few like past Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson 
and a few others.

The cry of "Being Soft on Crime" is overwhelming, especially for the 
Democrats. It is ironic that the Republicans, who pride themselves on small 
federal government and claim to be against Federal government interference, 
are perfectly happy to continue this policy that calls for government 
confiscation of property, a huge prison/industrial complex, increasing 
welfare needs. Once MJ is decriminalized it is no longer a crime to be soft 
on. But this action will only come from the grass roots.

The politicians will follow.

In no way do I denigrate the risks incurred by law enforcement. This is the 
policy the government has set out. They are to be admired for risk taking. 
Of course, asset confiscation does provide extra cash and sending a steady 
flow of arrestees keeps the prison/industrial empire thriving, providing 
employment for guards, contractors and support activities. And risk is 

About a year ago the Wall Street Journal ran an article on the explosion of 
SWAT teams.

Almost every government agency wanted one. And this was before 9-11 and the 
terrorist threat.

Clearly, law enforcement can be taking risks that are much, much more 
beneficial to the country than pursuing a failed MJ policy.

Remember, traffickers and pushers will absolutely not want us to 
decriminalize MJ.

Frederick Chase Jr., Framingham
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