Pubdate: Tue, 04 Mar 2008
Source: Bennington Banner (VT)
Copyright: 2008 by MediaNews Group, Inc.
Author: Kirk Muse


I'm writing about Laura Zink's letter: "Why encourage drug use?"
(2-25-08). Harsh drug laws do not deter drug use, they encourage it.

I'd like to add that if tough-on-drugs policies worked, the idealistic
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:
www.drugwarfacts. org/thenethe.htm.

And if tolerant drug policies caused more overall crime, especially
violent crime, the Dutch would have much higher crime rates than the
United States. They do not.

The Dutch murder rate is less than one-third the U. S. per capita
murder rate and their rate of incarceration is about one-seventh the
U.S. 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 sell them in licensed
business establishments, and we will make the term "drug-related
crime" obsolete.

Kirk Muse,

Mesa, Ariz.
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