Pubdate: 27 September, 1998
Source: Bulletin, The (OR)
Author: Stephen Wellcome


The writer of your editorial, No on Measure 67, apparently believes our
present drug laws actually keep people from using illeagal drugs. Surveys
regularly report that young people find marijuana easier to obtain than
alcohol, so the notion that drug prohibition actually prohibits anything is
dubious at best. When one further observes that the rate of teen marijuana
use in the Netherlands, where marijuana is readily available to adults, is
slightly lower than it is in the United States, one must severely question
the efficacy of drug prohibition.

The reason is not hard to find. Alcohol is sold by regulalted, licensed
dealers who generally respect laws against selling to minors. Drugs such as
marijuana are distributed by crime syndicates that will sell to anybody,
anywhere. The astronomical profits resulting from prohibition guarantee
there will always be an accomodating drug dealer within easy reach, with
plenty of eager replacements if any dealer happens to get arrested.

Given that back ground, it is clear that sick people who believe marijuana
helps them will continue to use it. If we do not provide them a legitimate
source of the drug, they will continue to do what they do now: obtain the
drug from criminal sources. Which alternative is better for the patients?
Which is a better message for our children: that sick people ought to be
arrested, persecuted, and put in jail?

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Checked-by: Rolf Ernst