Pubdate: Fri, 14 Jan 2011
Source: Hartford Courant (CT)
Copyright: 2011 The Hartford Courant
Author: Tony Newman


Kudos to Courant columnist Tom Condon for pointing out that it is the
policy of drug prohibition -- not the drugs themselves -- that causes
violence and death, whether in the streets of Hartford or in Mexico
[Place, Jan. 9, "Legalizing Drugs Would Stop the Bleeding"].

When alcohol was illegal, we had Al Capone and shootouts in the
streets. Now that alcohol is legal, no one dies over the right to sell
Budweiser. The same is true with illicit drugs today. There is nothing
about plants such as marijuana or coca that cause the massacres in
Mexico. It is because the plants are illegal, and thus worth more than
gold, that people are willing to kill one another over the vast profits.

About 30,000 Mexicans have died in the last four years because of drug
prohibition. Thousands have died in the United States as well.
President Barack Obama and his drug czar have said that the word
"legalization" is not in their vocabulary. It is time to remove our
heads from the sand by having an honest and open debate about the best
way to deal with drugs in our society.

Tony Newman, New York, N.Y.

The writer is director of media relations for the Drug Policy
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