Pubdate: Thu, 04 May 2006
Source: Colorado Springs Independent (CO)
Copyright: 2006 Colorado Springs Independent
Author: Kirk Muse


I'm writing about Michael de Yoanna's April 27 cover story, "Pot shot:
Mason Tvert's movement to legalize marijuana is causing reefer madness."

Suppose another country had almost no drug problem. Suppose that
country had less than a small fraction of 1 percent of our drug
arrests. And suppose that country had almost no "drug-related crime,"
and that its robbery rate was a tiny fraction of our robbery rate.

Do you think it might be wise to carefully observe that other
country's drug policy? And that we should model its drug policy?

Well, there is such a country: The Czech Republic, the only country in
the world where adult citizens can legally use, 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 people. The United
States' overall drug arrest rate is 585 per 100,000. The Czech robbery
rate is 2 per 100,000. The United States' robbery rate is 145.9 per
100,000, according to our FBI.

In other words, the Czech overall drug arrest rate is 1/585th of our
drug arrest rate, and the Czech robbery rate is less than 1/72nd of
our robbery rate.

According to our drug-war cheerleaders, tolerant marijuana laws cause
people to use other, much more dangerous drugs, like methamphetamine
and heroin. Obviously, this doesn't happen in the Czech Republic.

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?

Could it be that if we keep doing what we have been doing, we will
probably get the same results? Should we throw another trillion
dollars down the drug-war rat hole? Or should we do something
different -- dramatically different?

Kirk Muse

Mesa, Ariz.
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