Pubdate: Wed, 29 Jun 2005
Source: Cumberland Times-News (MD)
Copyright: 2005 Cumberland Times-News
Author: Dave Crockett
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Too many people seem to think that being "hard on drugs" is a good 
thing. From a compassionate standpoint, it is reasonable to want to 
protect people from themselves. It implies we care about them, even 
if they are perfect strangers.

We care so much for them, that, in one of our more compassionate 
moments, we decided that imprisoning drug users who have committed no 
other crime is the best way to treat them compassionately.

Forgive me for sounding cynical, but when I did a mental tally of 
"what is compassionate?" - grueling, dangerous prison was not on the 
list. Furthermore, who asked you to be compassionate in the first place?

Who asked you to be hard-nosed about drugs?

With nearly 50 million marijuana smokers in this country, hey, not 
all of them can be committing a "real" crime. (The prison-building 
complex is salivating when they read this). There must be millions of 
people, then, who consider themselves to be victims of the law, not 
beneficiaries of it. They use their drug of choice without any 
criminal or violent intent. But, you see, the corporate intent behind 
a $40 billion a year drug-war is based on the certainty that an 
ever-growing number of marijuana smokers, who have committed no other 
crime, will slake their thirst for more steel bars and concrete.

Those other drug users are just small change. The real money is in 
locking up marijuana people, not regulating and selling pot, at least, not yet.

The fact that the national legislature is complicit with the rise of 
drug crimes, i.e., bootlegging to the present, suggests that they see 
our natural inclination to use drugs as a way to make money.

They play into the hands of the criminals, almost as if one cannot do 
without the other. Did it ever occur to anyone that the national 
legislature is as much the problem as the black market they helped to create?

It is a terrible irony to grasp that the Congress gave us Al Capone 
and the Colombian drug lords.

It's no wonder our nation readily locks up medical marijuana 
patients. Everybody knows that when medical marijuana is legalized, 
people will start asking, why are we putting the pot smokers in jail? 
The heart of the fight is really over who controls a 50 
million-person market, the Congress or the criminals?

Why, both of them do. Both of them also benefit enormously as long as 
marijuana remains illegal.

The medical-marijuana issue is simply too narrow of a pocket for our 
fat cats to grasp (sorry, not enough money in it).

Dave Crockett

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