Pubdate: Tue, 29 Aug 2006
Source: St. Petersburg Times (FL)
Copyright: 2006 St. Petersburg Times
Author: John Chase
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


Re: A plan to help young black males, editorial, Aug. 25.

The bill in the Florida House (HB 21) speaks of drug abuse as one of 
the conditions affecting African-American men and boys. But it is 
primarily drug dealing that destroys neighborhoods and sends many of 
the subjects of this bill to prison. They are drawn to the excitement 
and easy money of dealing drugs, just as unskilled males were drawn 
to bootlegging during Prohibition (of alcohol).

Now, as then, the cause of the problems is not the drug; the cause is 
the prohibition, especially the resulting profit. Marijuana, for 
instance, retails for about 30 times what it would bring if it were 
regulated like tobacco. Even at its peak, illegal imported alcohol 
retailed for less than three times what it would have brought if legal.

One of the hidden costs of drug dealing can be a few years in prison, 
but even that has benefits. Prison enhances the social status of the 
dealer and helps sharpen his skills to not get caught the next time.

Those are the reasons unskilled African-Americans deal drugs rather 
than flip burgers. This bill's proposed "Council on the Social Status 
of African-American Men and Boys" must face that issue if it is to be 

John Chase

Palm Harbor
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