Pubdate: Mon, 19 Mar 2012
Source: Winston-Salem Journal (NC)
Copyright: 2012 Piedmont Publishing Co. Inc.
Note: The Journal does not publish LTEs from writers outside its 
circulation area
Author: Patricia Stockmeister


In response to Tamara Dietrich's column, "Pat Robertson, a hero to 
hippies," this is the first thing he has said in many years that 
makes sense: Legalize pot, marijuana, whatever name you put to cannabis.

Robertson said, "I think it's just shocking how many of these young 
people wind up in prison and they get turned into hard-core criminals 
because they had possession of a very small amount of controlled 
substance. The whole thing is crazy."

Let's look at the numbers. According to this column, 2.5 million are 
incarcerated for "soft" nonviolent drug offenses. This costs billions 
of dollars: $41.3 billion a year on enforcement, $25.7 billion to 
state and local governments. Legalizing pot alone would save $9 
billion. Then, if these drugs are taxed at rates comparable to 
alcohol and tobacco, it would yield $46.7 billion a year, $8.7 
billion from pot.

Most important: It would stop the illegal cartels, i.e., drug lords 
from foreign countries bringing the drug war into the United States.

I hope Robertson will step up to the plate and be a crusader in this 
issue (which he says he is not).

I have done research and agree with this column's statement: "The 
addiction rate for drugs has held fairly steady at 1.3 percent of the 
population since the late 1800s."

For what it's worth, I smoked pot a few times. I didn't like it, but 
lots of people do. It's a personal choice. Let us go forward, not 
back to Prohibition times.


- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom