Pubdate: Thu, 14 Apr 2005
Source: Juneau Empire (AK)
Copyright: 2005 Southeastern Newspaper Corp
Author: Kris Farmen


Gov. Frank Murkowski's current push to recriminalize marijuana is the
issue most representative of my utter disillusionment with the
Republican Party.

I used to vote Republican because they were the party that stood for
personal liberty, personal responsibility, free enterprise, and
keeping the federal government in check. Yet these days, Republicans,
both on a state and federal level, currently feel it is their role to
maintain Draconian laws that restrict personal liberty, for a stated
outcome that is dubious at best.

Do tough drug laws keep people from smoking marijuana? Obviously not,
given the thousands and thousands of individuals continually
incarcerated for possession and use. Marijuana smoking may be a bad
habit, but it has persisted through the centuries for the exact same
reason as all other bad habits. You cannot stop people from doing
something they really want to do. I discovered this while living in
Adelaide, Australia.

Adelaide has what are likely the most liberal marijuana laws of
anywhere in the English-speaking world; marijuana possession here
attracts the same penalties as a parking ticket. Do lots of people in
Adelaide smoke pot? Yes, it's part of the culture here. Many of my
best friends are regular smokers, yet oddly, they manage to keep their
rent paid, work regular jobs, and get good grades at university. They
do not mug tourists or steal from their families for drug money. They
are kind-hearted and good-humored companions. So far as I have been
able to determine, the streets of Adelaide are not awash in heroin and
cocaine, nor do the world's pot barons stalk the sidewalks at night.

Yet, according to the "White House experts" recently employed by
Murkowski, this scenario is simply not possible. This denial of
reality boggles the mind. The problem is not the flowers of Cannabis
indica, but rather the mountains of propaganda that surround the
debate on both sides. Is marijuana a harmless drug? Of course not.
Does use lead to the social breakdown predicted by the
liberty-destroying political team of Bush, Murkowski, and associates?
Not at all.

Republicans, I no longer vote for you because you have abandoned the
cause of personal liberty. Does marijuana ruin lives? No, the
government does.


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