Pubdate: Wed, 17 Jun 2009
Source: Albany Herald, The (GA)
Copyright: 2009 The Albany Herald Publishing Company, Inc.
Author: Floyd Krautner


Carlton Fletcher's otherwise excellent column (DailyViews, June 14)
about marijuana makes one mistake. The terms "decriminalization" and
"legalization" are not interchangeable. In today's terms,
"decriminalization" means to remove most penalties from users while
still seeking felony convictions for suppliers. We need to remember
that this was exactly the same legal status alcohol had during alcohol

When Eliot Ness raided a speakeasy, the customers went home while the
bootleggers went to prison. This policy enabled Al Capone, Lucky
Luciano and other career criminals to control the outlaw alcohol
market for 13 years. Hundreds of murders, bombings and shootings were
done every year by evil men seeking to control the rotgut liquor
market. Giving control of the alcohol market to criminals caused
incredible damage to society. Crime, corruption and violence reached
enormous proportions.

Leaving penalties in place for marijuana suppliers will continue the
current policy with very little benefit. Unless marijuana is made
completely legal, it will always be controlled by criminals. What is
needed is a regulated market and that is impossible with prohibition
in place.

Floyd Krautner

Bakersfield, Calif.
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