Pubdate: Wed, 08 Jul 2009
Source: Maui News, The (HI)
Copyright: 2009 The Maui News
Author: Ralph Givens


The Maui News online poll asked: "Should marijuana be legalized in 
Hawaii in a manner similar to alcohol - taxed and barred for 
possession by anyone under 21?"

Anyone who thinks decriminalization is the way to go with marijuana 
needs reminding that an alcohol prohibition worked the same way as a 
"decriminalization policy." Namely, users get light penalties while 
dealers go to jail for felony time.

When Eliot Ness raided a speakeasy, the customers went home while the 
operators went to jail. Decriminalization enabled Al Capone, Lucky 
Luciano and their ilk to violently control the outlaw booze market 
for more than a decade.

Eliot Ness and the prohibition agents never put the bootleggers out 
of business - the repeal of prohibition and a regulated market for 
adult alcohol ended the heyday of the booze barons in short order, 
and we haven't had a bombing or a shootout over a beer route since 1933.

Ralph Givens

Daly City, Calif.
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