Pubdate: Wed, 20 Jan 2016
Source: Tampa Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2016 The Tribune Co.
Author: John G. Chase


Regarding: "Tampa moves to downgrade pot offense" (front page, Jan. 
12): As we move toward decriminalization of marijuana, a caveat: 
Although decriminalization will reduce the cost of enforcement and 
avoid upsetting the lives of arrestees, it will not reduce the 
violence, the murders, the drive-by shootings, the deaths of 
innocents caught in the crossfire, or the grisly murders south of the 
Rio Grande. Credit the law of supply and demand for all that. Demand 
will increase, owing to the reduced cost (i.e. just a ticket, not an 
arrest). Increased demand will increase price, other things being 
equal. This will add to the wealth and violence of the street market. 
And if enforcement shifts from users to suppliers, as many of our 
leaders say it must, price will rise even higher. This is why alcohol 
prohibition failed. We arrested bootleggers, but not drinkers. The 
1920s were, in effect, a time of decriminalized alcohol and ended 
only when alcohol became legal again.

It is very important to decriminalize marijuana, but know that it is 
just a first step in ending the violence and corruption inherent in 
enforcing prohibition against a substance that millions of Americans want.

John G. Chase Palm harbor 
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom