Pubdate: Fri, 07 Jun 2013
Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)
Copyright: 2013 Chicago Tribune Company
Author: Dan Linn


The recent findings by the ACLU that cannabis prohibition
disproportionally affects black communities is one more reason to end
this failed policy. Cannabis prohibition was enacted on racist fear
mongering, but that fact is usually not taught in history or drug
education classes.

Alcohol prohibition is usually taught though under headlines like "the
Roaring 20s" or "the Noble Experiment," yet very few politicians can
see the parallel nature of that time period and our current drug laws.

How many tens of thousands of Mexicans will have to die south of our
border until the U.S. realizes that it is another one of our failed
prohibitions that has enriched and empowered such horrific drug cartels?

When will we learn that the best way to protect children from
dangerous substances is not by making the substances illegal but
having regulated and licensed points of sale? It is a shame that so
many lives have been lost to addiction from unregulated illegal
substances and it is cruel that we treat addiction with the heavy hand
of the criminal justice system.

Our country may pride itself on our freedoms but we are not free to
put whatever substances we want into our bodies and we incarcerate
more people than any other country in the world. How is that freedom?
How can we allow such racist policies to continue when there are many
other more serious crimes going unsolved?

We need to end cannabis prohibition and allow people to grow it. We
need to legalize and regulate drugs so that quality controls and
purity levels can be ensured along with licensed distributors. We need
to learn from history so that we don't keep repeating it.

- - Dan Linn, executive director, Illinois NORML
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