Pubdate: Wed, 15 Sep 2004
Source: Eau Claire Leader-Telegram (WI)
Copyright: 2004 Eau Claire Press
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Chippewa Valley's hazardous methamphetamine labs are reminiscent of
the deadly exploding liquor stills that sprang up throughout the
nation during alcohol prohibition.

Drug policies modeled after alcohol prohibition have given rise to a
youth-oriented black market. Illegal drug dealers don't ID for age,
but they do recruit minors immune to adult sentences. So much for
protecting the children.

Throwing more money at the problem is no solution. Attempts to limit
the supply of drugs while demand remains constant only increase the
profitability of drug trafficking. For 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, is a
cost-effective alternative to never-ending drug war. As long as
marijuana distribution remains in the hands of organized crime,
consumers will continue to come into contact with sellers of hard
drugs like meth.

This "gateway" is the direct result of a fundamentally flawed

Given that marijuana is arguably safer than legal alcohol - the plant
has never been shown to cause an overdose death - it makes no sense to
waste tax dollars on failed policies that finance organized crime and
facilitate the use of hard drugs.

Drug policy reform may send the wrong message to children, but I like
to think the children are more important than the message.


Policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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