Pubdate: Thu, 23 Apr 2009
Source: Herald-Zeitung (New Braunfels, TX)
Copyright: 2009 Herald-Zeitung
Author: JC Dufresne


To the editor:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently made the embarrassingly 
obvious statement that "Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels 
the drug trade," adding that "we have co-responsibility" for the 
violence of Mexico's drug cartels.

I've seen reports that Mexican cartels sold $9 billion of pot in the 
U.S. last year. One need only look back to Prohibition to see that 
mixing high demand for an outlaw product guarantees a violent black market.

The good thing about this is that Mexico's cartels get over 60 
percent of their revenue from U.S. marijuana sales, making them so 
dependent on the marijuana trade that we could virtually shut them 
down by pot legalization. Let's bring it out in the open and regulate 
it like liquor, cigarettes and gambling. We can tax pot instead of 
spending billions prosecuting and imprisoning people for using it and 
distributing it.

Polls show most Americans support some form of legalization, and 
legalization promises to generate billions of dollars in taxes while 
cutting expenses and violence, yet the subject has been left to 
first-term Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia. He proposed creating a federal 
commission to examine a relaxation of marijuana statutes and other 
potential changes to the prison system.

Sen. Webb is a former Republican and decorated Vietnam veteran who 
represents a conservative-leaning swing state with laws among the 
nation's most draconian, so it's not like there's a personal 
political upside for him in this fight. Sen. Webb has the political 
courage not to let that stop him.

JC Dufresne,

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