Pubdate: Mon, 27 May 2002
Source: Columbus Dispatch (OH)
Copyright: 2002 The Columbus Dispatch
Author: Jim White
Bookmark:  (Cannabis - Medicinal - Ohio)


It's bad enough that Gov. Bob Taft lied about the Ohio Drug Treatment 
Initiative claiming it would "legalize the use of drugs''; now we have the 
ever-so-compassionate Asa Hutchinson, chief of the federal Drug Enforcement 
Administration, lying about the initiative as well ("Drug treatment needs 
accountability,'' Forum column, May 14).

If Hutchinson had bothered to read the initiative, he would have noticed 
that accountability is built in. The power of accountability is now back in 
the hands of judges, who can better decide, based on the intricacies of the 
case at hand, what is appropriate for the offender and the community 
without having to conform to some arbitrary federally mandated sentencing 

One also needs to be wary of someone who claims to be compassionate while 
ordering DEA agents to close down medical-marijuana dispensaries in 
California, depriving patients of the only medicine that helps them. 
Americans are compassionate people, but we never trample people when they 
are down, and we never try to make matters worse with bad policy.

Bad policy is why we need the Ohio Drug Treatment Initiative. Bad policy 
fills prisons with mandatory minimum sentences that are longer for drug use 
than for rape or murder and spends hundreds of billions of dollars on a war 
on (some) drugs here and abroad. Anti-drug media campaigns have proved 
abject failures; that is where we to need have accountability.

We've had enough of Hutchinson's boot-heel justice to know that his 
boot-heel compassion isn't going to produce any better results. It's time 
for real reform, and the Ohio Drug Treatment Initiative does that, with 
built-in accountability.

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