Pubdate: Thu, 18 Sep 2003
Source: Salt Lake City Weekly (UT)
Copyright: 2003 Copperfield Publishing
Author: Scott Russ


I wanted to thank you for publishing the article by Brandon Burt ["Wars R 
Us," Sept. 11, City Weekly].

The war on politically selected drugs is destroying this country. 
Prohibition punishes the poor and weak of our society. The rich and 
connected members are able to pay and sweet talk their way out of trouble. 
Current and past presidents have used illegal drugs, so what message are we 
really giving kids? The war on some drugs was started back in the 1920s, 
when Chinese immigrants were seen as a problem and outlawing opium and 
heroin was a way to get rid of them. The Federal Bureau of Narcotics was 
formed and headed by Harry Anslinger. The western United States saw the 
Mexican immigrants as a threat, so they eventually persuaded Anslinger to 
deal with marijuana the way heroin and opium were dealt with. In 1937, 
during congressional hearings concerning marijuana, Anslinger is quoted as 
saying, "Marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with 
Negroes, entertainers and any others." So began the reefer madness we're 
all familiar with. Soon the federal government pressured every state into 
outlawing cannabis, against the objections of the American Medical Association.

In 1938, New York City Mayor LaGuardia commissioned The New York Academy of 
Medicine to study cannabis. After an exhaustive four-year study on the 
issue they reported: "There [is] no direct relationship between the 
commission of crimes of violence and marihuana ... and marihuana itself has 
no specific stimulant effect in regard to sexual desires. The use of 
marihuana does not lead to morphine or cocaine or heroin addiction. ... 
Cannabis smoking does not lead directly to mental or physical 
deterioration. ... Those who have consumed marijuana for a period of years 
showed no mental or physical deterioration which may be attributed to the 
drug." LaGuardia's report was dismissed, and he was forced to toe the party 

Now, in the year 2003, our government is so addicted to its drug war budget 
they will do anything to keep it. They use fear as a tool to get voters to 
approve the continuation of the war on some drugs. They say they are 
protecting our children.

Well, my children aren't safe under the current system. They will never be 
safe until we deal with these now illegal substances the same way we deal 
with the two most deadly substances, alcohol and tobacco.

These substances have warning labels on them. If we really wanted to help 
drug users who need help, then we would legally regulate these substances 
and allow users to read the warning label and make the decision for themselves.

And regulating these substances doesn't mean they would be more available 
to minors. Our current system is the one which allows any kid to obtain 
them with no regulation at all.

Sooner or later, this country will come to realize that the war on some 
drugs is the biggest domestic policy disaster ever. How can we stand by 
while our government continues a blatantly bigoted war such as this?

Scott Russ

Baton Rouge, La.
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