Pubdate: Fri, 03 Mar 2006
Source: City Newspaper (Rochester, NY)
Copyright: 2006 City Newspaper
Author: Kirk Muse


Regarding Krestia DeGeorge's outstanding article "Burned Out" (February
23): I'd like to add that 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 drug policies created more drug use, the Netherlands
would have much higher drug-usage rates than the United States. They
do not. In fact, the Dutch use marijuana and other recreational drugs
at much lower rates than Americans do. See the web site:

And if tolerant drug policies caused more overall crime, especially
violent crime, the Dutch would have much higher crime rates than the
US. They do not. The Dutch murder rate is less than one-third the
per-capita murder rate of the US, and their rate of incarceration is
about one-seventh the US incarceration rate.

In the Netherlands, marijuana is sold to adults without criminal
sanctions in coffee shops. In the United States, marijuana is sold by
criminals who often sell other, much more dangerous drugs, and who
often offer free samples of the more dangerous drugs to their
marijuana customers --- thus the gateway effect.

Legalize, regulate, and control the sale of marijuana, and we close
the gateway. Legalize all types of recreational drugs, and we would
make the term "drug-related crime" as obsolete as buggy whips.

Kirk Muse, Mesa, Arizona
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