Pubdate: Sat, 27 Jan 2007 Source: Hood County News (TX) Copyright: 2007, Hood County News and HCN Online Services. Contact: http://www.hcnews.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/3034 Author: Terry Nelson LEGALIZE ALL DRUGS Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (www.leap.cc), a group of former judges, cops, prosecutors, prison wardens and concerned citizens, knows from decades of experience that drug lords and street dealers accept death at the hands of the state or other dealers as a condition of employment. That is why the ever-increasing penalties for trafficking which now include massive mandatory-minimum sentences have not been effective in reducing availability of illicit drugs on the streets of America. According to the Associated Press KUWAIT CITY (AP) -- A court has convicted a member of Kuwait's ruling family for drug trafficking and the court has condemned him to death, according to a ruling obtained Monday. It is believed to be the first time that a member of a ruling family in one of the Gulf Arab states received the death sentence for a drug offense. Even facing the death penalty, being wealthy and having connections to royalty, the allure of additional riches derived from drugs is too strong. So, we can conclude from this and our own prison population, that no matter how severe the penalty there will always be those willing to run the risk for the rewards. We will never stop trafficking in drugs as long as they are illegal, the market is there and the profit so substantial. The solution is glaringly obvious. The solution is to legalize all drugs, regulate and control the manufacturing process and license the marketplace. According to the National Institute for Drug Abuse, 107.8 billion U.S. dollars is associated with drugrelated crime, including criminal justice system costs and costs borne by victims of crime. The cost of treating drug abuse (including research, training and prevention efforts) was estimated to be $15.8 billion, a fraction of the cost to support the War on Drugs. Our government has the freedom to choose a different method of combating illegal drug use. It has the power to change tactics and to treat drug abuse for what it is a -- medical problem, not a criminal problem. The government can choose to provide treatment instead of jails for those that abuse drugs. Legalizing and controlling drug distribution would yield enough revenue to offset treatment programs without the surplus savings from taxes and reduced prison costs. Nobel Prize winning laureate PhD. Milton Friedman stated in an open letter to President Bush that revenue from taxation of marijuana sales would range from $2.4 billion per year if marijuana were taxed like ordinary consumer goods and if it were taxed like alcohol or tobacco the revenue stream would be closer to $6.2 billion annually. LEAP believes that drugs are too dangerous to be left in the hands of criminals. It's time to regulate and control them. Let's put the money into education, research and treatment instead of jails and prisons. We all want a better future for ourselves and our children.