Pubdate: Tue, 9 Nov 2010
Source: Anniston Star (AL)
Copyright: 2010 Consolidated Publishing
Author: John Chase


Re "Effort to legalize marijuana bad news in U.S." (Op-ed article,
Oct. 15):

American history holds an important lesson for Calhoun County Sheriff
Larry Amerson.

When we ended national prohibition, the murder rate plummeted and
federal prisons began to shrink as bootleggers served out their
sentences. Even more important, alcohol drinking did not skyrocket.
According to the National Institutes of Health, it took about 40 years
for per-capita consumption to reach its pre-prohibition level, then it
declined, and now it stands about 10 percent below its pre-prohibition

The sheriff is right, though, about "medical marijuana." It is a joke,
just as medicinal alcohol was a joke in the 1920s. (Walgreen's began
the 1920s with 20 drug stores and ended the 1920s with more than 500
drug stores, and their milkshakes didn't do that.)

The bad things the sheriff said are caused by illegal drugs are caused
mostly by the "illegal" part, not the "drug" part. It was the same in
the 1920s, when many well-intentioned citizens believed our alcohol
problems would be solved by prohibition. While it's true that
alcohol-related diseases declined in the 1920s, prohibition caused so
much collateral damage that we decided in 1933 to get the federal
government out and let each state decide.

That is what we should do for marijuana today. Let the states

John Chase

Palm Harbor, Fla.
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