Pubdate: Wed, 08 Mar 2006
Source: Tufts Daily (MA Edu)
Copyright: 2006 Tufts Daily
Author: Jack A. Cole
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


To the editors of the Tufts Daily:

As the executive director of the world's largest organization of 
police, judges and other criminal justice professionals who oppose 
the policy of drug prohibition, I'd like to echo the smart 
conclusions of letter writer Kirk Muse (Letter to the Editor, 
"Legalizing marijuana could lead to less crime," Mar. 6, 2006).

Regardless of how we choose to assess the potential health benefits 
and/or risk attached to marijuana use, having the criminal justice 
system as the primary arm of public response is bad policy.

Using police and the criminal courts to punish marijuana users leaves 
cops short on needed manpower and resources needed to deal with 
street level crimes against persons and/or property.

The cited motivation of those insisting on criminal penalties for 
marijuana possession is its potential risk to health and well-being.

But cops are not health care professionals. Prison cells are not 
places where health care and treatment take place. And a lifetime 
criminal record will most certainly hamper the health of one's 
long-term future.

By all means, increase accurate education about marijuana to all 
citizens and make any needed medical care more accessible to all citizens.

But don't shackle the police with a job which should be reserved for 
health care professionals and educators.

More important - based on our combined decades of experience fighting 
the so-called "drug war" - it's time to legalize marijuana and move 
production and distribution into a licensed and regulated setting.

This need is even more urgent if one views pot as a dangerous drug. 
It is our opinion that risky and dangerous substances are best 
distributed in controlled and regulated settings.

Such regulation is impossible under a system of criminal prohibition.

Jack A. Cole

Executive Director

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

Medford, Mass.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman