Pubdate: Thu, 23 Apr 2009
Source: Acorn, The (Agoura Hills, CA)
Copyright: 2009 J.Bee NP Publishing, Ltd.
Author: Ron Evans


In support of the comments last week by Juliet Hotchkiss ("Marijuana 
safer than alcohol"), the war on drugs is over. It failed. It wasn't 
just a huge failure, it was a catastrophic failure. We've been at it 
for over 30 years at a cumulative cost of hundreds of billions of 
dollars and usage rates are actually higher now than they were when we started.

Prohibition has never been an effective strategy to discourage any 
psychotropic or mind altering substance use. It's not just that it 
just doesn't work--the resulting black market insidiously spreads 
corruption well beyond the drug's impact on any individual user.

We arrest 800,000 pot users a year. Enforcement costs average about 
$500 per arrest. It costs about $30,000 per year to incarcerate a 
user. Our prisons currently hold more than 530,000 drug offenders.

Four lobbies account for the greatest pressure on lawmakers to 
maintain existing drug penalties: the pharmacy lobby, the liquor 
lobby, the cigarette lobby and private prison corporations.

Changing the restrictions on drug use requires fact based solutions, 
not ideological or political positions. By any objective measure the 
prohibition on cannabis produces effects in our society far worse 
than any health issue. Pot smokers are not dangerous to themselves or 
anyone else. We need to stop making criminals of people who smoke pot, now.

Ron Evans

Oak Park
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