Pubdate: Mon, 08 Aug 2011 Source: Citizen, The (Auburn, NY) Copyright: 2011 Auburn Publishers Inc. Contact: http://www.auburnpub.com/services/send_a_letter Website: http://www.auburnpub.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/1491 Author: Joyce Hackett Smith-Moore 'WAR ON DRUGS' HAS BEEN A TRAGIC FAILURE After three decades and after spending billions upon billions of our tax dollars -- yours and mine -- we're waking up to the fact that the "War on Drugs" has been a tragic failure! Of the roughly 850,000 drug arrests that law enforcement agencies make each year, it is estimated that 45 percent of those arrests were for the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Even Pat Robertson, Founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network, said that, "criminalizing the possession of a few ounces of pot is costing us a fortune and ruining young people who go into prison as youths and come out hardened criminals." Even former President Jimmy Carter believes that "penalties for the possession of it should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself." And so, what the drug war has done is lock up nonviolent offenders in maximum-security prisons for years when it would have been a lot less costlier had they been given treatment instead of incarceration. Had treatment for addiction been provided instead of imprisonment ... we would not have had to build so many more prisons than what were needed! (No wonder the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world!) A number of concerned Americans -- both liberal and conservative -- are agreeing with what President Obama has called the Drug War ... "it's an utter failure." Despite the political party affiliation of the reader, what our president is now recommending be done should be a national priority because he says, "never has it been more important to have a national drug control strategy be guided by sound principles of public safety and public health." Fortunately a number of states -- 16 in all -- have legalized medical marijuana ... thanks to the efforts of both the scientific and medical communities who recognize that it lessens excruciating pain and other debilitating symptoms. And so, what might be worth considering is legalizing marijuana for medical use in New York state. It is estimated that if it were taxed .. it would raise over $1 billion ... annually! Thus we could save our state's debt problem and not consider the only other alternative .. "fracking" for natural gas! Joyce Hackett Smith-Moore Moravia - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.