Pubdate: Fri, 18 Apr 2008
Source: DrugSense Weekly (DSW)



By Chris Wiley

In response to Jerry Cameron's opinion article "By ceding on 
low-level offenders, we gain ground in drug war" ( March 30) and 
regarding the war on drugs, it is encouraging to see that some in law 
enforcement, having fought in this war, realize its futility.

Since this "war" officially began in 1970, what has been achieved? 
Nothing positive; 1.6 million citizens are arrested per year on drug 
charges.  Their lives are basically ruined. A record ensures trouble 
when applying for jobs.  Lifetime incomes are adversely affected, 
reputations are ruined, and families are humiliated and stigmatized.

Currently, $7.7 billion tax dollars are spent annually to fight this 
unending war.  It is estimated that if marijuana were legalized, tax 
revenue would be $6.2 billion per year. So, if we quit spending the 
$7.7 billion and collected the $6.2 billion, we would be $13.9 billion ahead!

Even more importantly, law enforcement could be redirected to 
fighting real crime. If you take the crime out of drugs, what do you 
have left? You have the government in charge of the drugs, not the 
usage of drugs. You have resources freed up to initiate new 
programs.  You have room in prisons for those who really should be there.

Legalization does not condone the use of drugs anymore than the 
legalization of alcohol condones its use.  People choose on an 
individual basis what they will or will not do based on their 
integrity and education.

Our hypocritical politicians need to get real about this issue. Drugs 
are not going away. Availability has not been altered. History has 
proven that prohibition does not work.  When someone does something 
over and over again that does not work, or is harmful to him, he is 
determined to be insane.

The same applies to the war on drugs.

Chris Wiley


Pubdate - Thu, 10 Apr 2008

Source - Star-Banner, The (Ocala, FL)

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