Pubdate: Tue, 6 Apr 2010
Source: Columbian, The (WA)
Copyright: 2010 The Columbian Publishing Co.
Author: Jim Kennedy


I enjoy a good joke as well as the next guy, but when my local
newspaper furthers a pernicious fallacy, I'm not laughing. Mike
Lester's editorial cartoon published May 28 asks what fuels Mexican
dope wars. Lester's answer is "American dopes."

Wrong, Lester. Our "War on Drugs" fuels the murder and mayhem. Cartels
smuggle drugs to tax-free distribution networks we call "gangs." More
than 2,600 people died last year in Juarez, Mexico, over illegal
profits, not drugs.

When the Harrison Act passed in 1914, estimates identified drug abuse
within 1.3 percent of the American population. When President Nixon
declared war on drugs in 1970, it was estimated that 1.3 percent of
the American population abused drugs. As I type this in 2010, experts
estimate 1.3 percent of our population has a drug problem.

How's that war on drugs working? Black marketers cheer, "Quite nicely,
thank you."

The reasonable answer is to legalize all drugs, tax and regulate them,
and treat drug abuse as a health problem like Type 2 diabetes or alcoholism.

Maybe I'm mistaken and that's a crack pipe in the cartoon smoker's
hand. After all, the majority of psychoactive cannabis used in the
states is grown right here at home.

Let's add it to our GDP.

Jim Kennedy