Pubdate: Wed, 10 Oct 2007
Source: Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ)
Copyright: 2007 The Arizona Republic
Author: Alvin L. Arnold


Regarding "Cartels outrun, outgun the law at Ariz. border" (Republic, Oct. 3):

Is marijuana evil? Yes, of course, somewhat like alcohol and tobacco, 
but we permit the consumption of the latter two because to do 
otherwise would be an invitation to another illegal venture.

For 21 years, I served as a federal law-enforcement agent on the 
Canadian and Mexican borders. I arrested smugglers, confiscated 
marijuana, Cuban cigars, heroin and other drugs. Having removed what 
I thought was a significant amount of drugs from our streets, I now 
sadly know I accomplished little beyond bringing a serious problem to 
the attention of a few caring people.

For decades, we have been naive in our belief that state and federal 
drug agents would win a war with prohibitive legislation and threats. 
We have successfully filled our prisons while supporting the 
lucrative sale of drugs.

Whether an unconscious effort, or a hypocritical self-righteousness 
about evil, we are making a lot of people in the United States, 
Mexico and Columbia wealthy. We are relinquishing the management of 
drugs to the criminal segment of our society.

We have shown that we can reasonably control the consumption of 
alcohol and tobacco. Legalize marijuana and eliminate the corrupting profit.

Retail it and tax it at a price that will discourage smugglers and 
back street vendors.

Until we do, we are smug in our self-deception, while in fact 
condoning the illegal use of drugs.

Alvin L. Arnold

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