Pubdate: Wed, 21 Oct 2009
Source: Minnesota Daily (U of MN,  Minneapolis, MN Edu)
Contact:  2009 Minnesota Daily
Author: Keith Lawrence


Mathew Chirhart's Oct. 21 letter in defense of the war on drugs is
uninformed and ill-prepared. The author states, "[The legalization of]
marijuana is one thing because the damage inflicted is comparable to
alcohol." This is false. Marijuana's inflicted damage is far less than
alcohol. One kills people; the other does not.

The author continues, stating "... when prohibition ended, did it end
the production of moonshine?" No, but it did drastically reduce its
production. Criminal enterprises no longer rely on moonshine
production for revenue. When is the last time you heard about law
enforcement busting a moonshine still? How about a meth lab?

The author then suggests that drug lords won't just "walk away when
[the] government steals their customer base." What choice would they
have? Who would risk buying drugs from a street vendor in a dark alley
when they could buy purer, cheaper drugs from a well-lit and secure
dispensary? Do people buy whiskey from strangers in dark alleys or do
they go to liquor stores? The author's underestimation of the power
and efficiency of big pharma to capitalize on a new market is naive.
Drug lords would have no choice but to lose money, and thus also guns
and manpower.

But logical arguments aside, the true issue boils down to a single
question: If the government has the power to tell the people what they
can and cannot put into their own body, be it tobacco smoke,
trans-saturated fats or methamphetamine, how can one even pretend one
lives in a free country? Government should remain the way it was
originally intended by the founders: limited.

Keith Lawrence

University undergraduate student 
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