Pubdate: Fri, 31 Jan 2014
Source: Oklahoman, The (OK)
Copyright: 2014 The Oklahoma Publishing Co.
Author: Charles Rouse


Reading "Oklahoma legislator's bill aims to legalize pot" (News, Jan. 
26), I wasn't surprised that officials opposing a bill to legalize 
and tax marijuana were law enforcement, not the health sector. 
Naturally, Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel doesn't want 
marijuana legalized. He's paid to house city and state prisoners, 
many on marijuana charges. Add the loss of federal grants and it 
would take a very big man to say otherwise. No surprise, either, that 
the head of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs 
doesn't want to lose manpower and turf.

Let's have a discussion of facts and empirical evidence rather than 
rehash "Reefer Madness" and "gateway drug" arguments unsupported by 
evidence. As a criminal defense attorney of 32 years, I've seen more 
damage to individuals and families caused by arrest and prosecution 
than by use of marijuana. Prohibition damages the country and 
enriches violent criminals. We all suffer. Let's use our resources 
effectively. Put the manpower wasted on pot into a real war on meth, 
crack cocaine, PCP and heroin and continue to fight prescription drug abuse.

A safer, saner world is possible, but only if we look at facts and 
ignore the hysteria from law enforcement officials who are paid to 
enforce laws, not make them.

Charles Rouse, Oklahoma City
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