Pubdate: Wed, 23 Aug 2006
Source: Journal Standard, The (Freeport, IL)
Copyright: 2006 The Journal Standard
Author: Kirk Muse
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Cocaine)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Heroin)


I'm writing about Diana Roemer's thoughtful story: "Street trends: 
The grip of crack cocaine" (8-21-06).

If tough-on-drugs policies worked, the quixotic goal of a drug-free 
America would have been reached a long time ago.

And if tolerant marijuana policies caused more hard drug use and 
crime, the Czech Republic would have much higher rates of hard drug 
use and crime.

They do not.

The Czech Republic is the only country in the world where adult 
citizens can legally use, purchase, possess and grow small quantities 
of marijuana. (In the Netherlands, marijuana is quasi-legal - not 
officially legal.)

The Czech overall drug arrest rate is 1 per 100,000 population ("A 
Czech Toke on Freedom," by Jeffrey Fleishman in the Los Angeles 
Times, Jan. 24, 2006).

The United States' overall drug arrest rate is 585 per 100,000 
population (FBI Uniform Crime Reports, 2002 final statistics).

The Czech robbery rate is 2 per 100,000 population. The United 
States' robbery rate is 145.9 per 100,000 population, according to our FBI.

According to our drug-war cheerleaders, tolerant marijuana laws cause 
people to use other, much more dangerous drugs, like crack cocaine, 
meth and heroin.

Obviously, this doesn't happen in the Czech Republic. Why not?

Could it be that when people can legally obtain marijuana at an 
affordable price, they tend not to use or desire any other recreational drugs?

Could it be that marijuana legalization actually creates a roadblock 
to hard drug use - not a gateway?

Could it be that the vast majority of our so-called "drug-related 
crime" is caused by our marijuana prohibition policies?

Kirk Muse

Mesa, Ariz.
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MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman