Pubdate: Wed, 12 May 2004
Source: Tallahassee Democrat (FL)
Copyright: 2004 Tallahassee Democrat.
Author: Richard Bradford
Note: Prints email address for LTEs sent by email


Re: "What about the societal repercussions of legalizing drugs?" by
Bill Cotterell (Capital Curmudgeon, May 6).

Cotterell conjures up a perverse view of what might happen if we
legalize drugs, particularly marijuana. Yet he manages to completely
ignore the repercussions that a marijuana conviction has on a person,
his or her family and society.

Not all individuals convicted of marijuana possession serve long
prison sentences, but they may face probation and mandatory drug
treatment, loss of driving privileges, loss of federal college
financial aid, personal asset forfeiture, loss of certain welfare
benefits such as food stamps, eviction from public housing or even
loss of child custody.

Rather than drawing conclusions based on years of government
propaganda and hysteria, we need to open a dialogue on this issue.
Around the nation, communities are denouncing the traditional punitive
approach to marijuana law enforcement. Seattle and San Francisco have
passed legislation relaxing penalties for responsible adult marijuana
use at the local level. Today, 11 states have passed laws that
decriminalize the personal use of marijuana.

This means about 30 percent of the adult population lives under some
form of decriminalization. These states and cities removed criminal
sanctions for personal amounts of marijuana, and studies show a
significant savings in taxpayer dollars and police man-hours.

Richard Bradford
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin