Pubdate: Thu, 17 Feb 2005
Source: Illinois Times (IL)
Copyright: 2005 Yesse Communications
Author: Stephen Heath
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Cited: LEAP


Richard J. Rawlings was right on point in his provocative examples of
how marijuana-prohibition laws are not only irrational, but they also
impede police from work that would far better serve the public
interest in health and safety for all ["Letters," Jan. 6]. The good
news is that a growing number of police, judges, and others formerly
involved in prosecuting the so-called war on drugs are now calling for
an end to criminal prohibitions against marijuana use and
distribution. They have organized as Law Enforcement Against

LEAP believes that in-demand drugs, most notably marijuana, are best
distributed in a legal, regulated market. LEAP knows that illegal
dealers are the ones who actively market pot and other drugs to
minors. Illegal dealers conduct violence in our neighborhoods. Most
important criminal dealers require millions of valuable police
man-hours be wasted in a futile attempt to control illegal-marijuana

Legalizing marijuana will not solve all the problems related to its
use, but we did not end alcohol prohibition in 1933 because alcohol
use was without risk. We did it because of the urgent need to put Al
Capone and other criminal dealers out of business and move the product
into a market that could be easily monitored by authorities. We were
then more able to help those who have problems with alcohol while
respecting the privacy of those who use the drug responsibly.

It's time for an equally sensible change in policy for the 21st
century. It's time to legalize marijuana for responsible adult use.

Stephen Heath,

Clearwater, Fla.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Derek