Pubdate: Thu, 4 Mar 2010
Source: Journal Gazette, The (Fort Wayne, IN)
Copyright: 2010 The Journal Gazette
Author: Jeanette Heitger


Every day on the news we hear again that there just isn't enough money
for "government" to do its job. There is such a simple solution to the
problem, but politicians just don't have the courage to tackle it.
Unfortunately, simple idealism stands in the way of that solution.

The current national attitude toward drugs is nothing if not
idealistic. It's not effective at all, but it is indeed idealistic. Of
course, no one should abuse drugs, but laws against it do not prevent
drug abuse. Nearly every schoolchild can tell you drugs are readily
available. Oddly enough, for all its idealism, the United States
offers the biggest market for illegal drugs in the world.

By the simple expedient of legalizing drugs, regulating them and
taxing them as we do alcohol, this country could solve all sorts of
problems. Funding for al-Qaida? If Afghan poppies are no longer
illegal, no big bucks. The drug war along the Mexican border? Ditto.
Overcrowded jails? Half the population of the jails would be released
immediately. We could get rid of a whole bureau in Washington - the
Drug Enforcement Agency.

Not only would we save the enormous sums we now spend on the useless
and losing "war against drugs," but every community could take in big
bucks in taxes. The new laws should mandate a percentage of those
taxes go toward treating addicts instead of jailing them, but
otherwise they could swell the general coffers.

The only down side I can see to this is the cut in income for the
officials who are being bribed by drug lords. Just passing a law
against something does not keep that something from happening. There
were those who decided "demon rum" was ruining the country and
actually passed a constitutional amendment to prohibit it. The only
result was great violence and the enrichment of criminals, and
Prohibition was eventually repealed. The same thing is happening with
drugs today. Let's wise up and solve a lot of different problems in
one fell swoop.

(Now I'll hunker down for the vehement responses from people who think
this horrible idea would encourage people to use drugs. Before
writing, I suggest those people reread the above. Many, many people
don't need any encouragement or there wouldn't be soo much money
involved in the first place.)

Jeanette Heitger

Fort Wayne
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