Pubdate: Sat, 26 Nov 2005
Source: Olympian, The (WA)
Copyright: 2005, The Olympian
Author: Robert Sharpe


Washington'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 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
supply 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 policy.

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.
Tough-on-drugs politicians would no doubt disagree.

Robert Sharpe, policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy
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