Pubdate: Thu, 23 Aug 2007
Source: Albuquerque Journal (NM)
Copyright: 2007 Albuquerque Journal
Author: Michael Jones, LEAP
Bookmark: (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Walters, John)


Attorney General Gary King generated front page headlines all over 
New Mexico with his advice that the feds might arrest and prosecute 
Health Department employees that distribute medical marijuana.

"The production and distribution of marijuana is still a crime at the 
federal level ... and that is something that state laws can't 
change," said Tom Riley, spokesman for the Office of National Drug 
Control Policy.

How wise is it to maintain the status quo that has wasted tens of 
billions of tax dollars during each of the last 37 years? Fiscal 
responsibility is often not compatible with government actions, but 
to spend a trillion dollars in about 40 years on a policy that was a 
failure before it was even implemented with nothing positive (but 
plenty of negatives) to show in return for the money is criminal.

But the feds just will not stop. Your state legalized medical 
marijuana? That's too bad, we're going to use our limited resources 
and round up harmless distributors of medical pot while "gangstas" 
engage in running gun battles endangering the lives of countless bystanders.

Apparently spending billions of tax dollars around the world in the 
war on drugs without any success just isn't enough. We'll be sending 
tens of millions to Mexico to help it fight its war on drugs. News 
coverage mentions the Mexican president's determination and his 
sending of military units to fight the cartels.

Reports earlier this year detailed how many Mexican police officers 
had been coerced by death threats and corrupted with bribes. They 
also mentioned how corruption was spreading within the military units 
being sent to fight the cartels. So, are we in a bidding war with the 
Mexican cartels over who can bribe the most people? If so we are 
doomed to lose again.

Meanwhile back at home people who need marijuana for relief of 
medical symptoms are caught between the proper fearfulness of the 
state personnel required by law to administer to their needs and 
White House Drug Czar John Walters.

New Mexico is the most recent state to legalize medical marijuana, 
but it won't be the last. The feds' pursuit of those violating 
federal law but not state law is a waste of time, money and effort. 
The tide is turning, and eventually this version of prohibition will 
come to an end like the previous one and for much the same reasons.

The government can't stop the flow of illegal drugs because it cannot 
end the demand. The tipping point will be reached when people are 
tired of the abuses of civil rights by the criminal justice system 
and by the continued endangerment of the nation's youth by the 
maintenance of a black market system of drug distribution. The person 
who decides what to sell, its purity, strength, and price is a 
criminal. That's also the person who decides whether to sell to your 
children or grandchildren.

Drugs are too dangerous to allow criminals to be in charge. Legalized 
regulation, distribution and taxation will remove the criminals from 
the equation. Not decriminalization, legalized regulation.

There will be less disease and death, less crime, less addiction and 
billions of tax dollars for education and prevention programs.

Before retiring to Los Ranchos de Taos, J. Michael Jones was deputy 
chief of the Gainesville, Fla., Police Department. He is on the 
speaker's bureau of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Visit
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