Pubdate: Sun, 07 Sep 2003
Source: Tampa Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2003, The Tribune Co.
Author: Anthony Lorenzo
Note: Anthony Lorenzo is a member of the Florida Cannibis Action
Note: Limit LTEs to 150 words


I take issue with the editorial that claims Jeb Bush made the right
decision in spending $66 million of my tax dollars to construct new
prison cells (Our Opinion, Sept. 2), when last year he cut funding for
drug treatment programs in prisons completely.

The editorial stated: ``What alternative do authorities have to remove
these parasites [drug dealers] from the communities they are
ruining?'' I will answer that question: Unless you give these
``parasites'' another economic opportunity that encompasses more than
$5.50 an hour flipping burgers, someone will be desperate enough to
sell drugs.

You claim that arresting people is the only solution. If cocaine sold
for $5 per gram, would anyone be standing on the corner to sell it if
it were no longer profitable? No, it would not be lucrative. If we
remove the profit by moving these substances into a regulated,
controlled market, drug dealers have to find new work. Your editorial
failed to note that this is the only economically sound idea.

As long as we don't, as a society, provide treatment for those who
choose to get help, we are not doing our part as a society. Why must
someone get arrested to be able to get drug treatment? The Rand Corp.
determined that additional domestic law enforcement efforts cost 15
times as much as treatment to achieve the same reduction in societal

Please, let's deal in facts, not political spin parrotted by the
Florida drug czar, who will say anything to justify his bloated,
inefficient budget.

Anthony Lorenzo, member of the Florida Cannibis Action Network. Tampa
- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin