Pubdate: Mon, 23 Apr 2012
Source: Athens News, The (OH)
Copyright: 2012, Athens News
Author: Stephanie Stark


Retired Cincinnati Police Capt. Howard Rahtz on Thursday presented 
his theory and proposed solutions for the War on Drugs - one of which 
is legalizing marijuana - during a visit to Ohio University. Speaking 
on behalf of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Rahtz suggested to 
an audience in Bentley Hall that the legalization of marijuana is the 
solution to ending drug-related violence, and shared three facts to 
support his conclusion.

Approximately 50 students showed up for the speech which was hosted 
by Students For Liberty, a campus organization that "promotes 
individual liberty and fostering discussion on the role of government 
in society."

First, he said, because marijuana sales comprise of 60 percent of 
drug trafficking, the legalization of marijuana would take away the 
majority of traffickers' revenue. He compared the situation to that 
of alcohol prohibition and the Volstead Act of 1920, which he said 
eliminated a legal industry and turned it into a criminal activity 
for murderers and thugs. "And I'm proposing that by legalizing 
marijuana, we can do the opposite. (Criminals) are the folks that are 
now profiting from marijuana sales," he said. "We can put marijuana 
into a legal, controlled, regulatory context, just as alcohol and 
tobacco, and now we've taken the money that fuels the illegal drug 
market and fuels the violence that is afflicting our citizens."

Second, he cited the "90 Percent Rule," that 90 percent of the income 
that comes from drug trafficking is at the retail level, rather than 
the international raw material supply. For this reason, he said, if 
marijuana is legalized, there will be no incentive for international 
drug lords to incite violence.

Third, Rahtz said, if marijuana is taken out of the conversation 
about illegal drugs, police forces can then focus on addicts of 
harder drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, crack and cocaine.

"It's addicts who are out there 24/7 ripping off people and 
committing crime to support their drug habits," he said.

By legalizing marijuana and decriminalizing harder drugs, addicts 
will be encouraged to get treatment, Rahtz said.

"By taking (addicts) out of the illegal drug market, what happens to 
the illegal drug market? It begins to wither away. We're choking off 
their source of support," he said. Rahtz said laws allowing medicinal 
marijuana seem to be the "Trojan Horse of legalization," and that 
legalizing usage for recreation is necessary to stop the War on 
Drugs. "Forty percent of American adults have smoked marijuana. It's 
not a secret club that's around somewhere," he said.

Rahtz' suggestion prompted a few questions about the hypocrisy of 
international trade laws and about the dangers of decriminalizing 
hard drugs, and no real objections. Students For Liberty President 
Chase Withorn, a sophomore, said they asked Rahtz to speak last year 
and had about the same turnout.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom