Pubdate: 22 Apr 1999
Source: New Haven Register (CT)
Copyright: 1999, New Haven Register
Author: Will Smith
Section: Opinion, pg A8


The arrest of Khalid El-Amin brings public attention to the
police-state mentality of the "War on (Some) Drugs."

Current policy places great emphasis on arresting people for smoking
marijuana. These arrests are a travesty of justice that cause enormous
pain, suffering and financial hardship for millions of families. They
also engender disrespect for the law and for the criminal justice
system. All of these problems are not caused by marijuana, but rather
by prohibition itself.

Marijuana smokers are, in the vast majority, hard-working, gentle,
otherwise-law-abiding people. They should not be criminalized. They
pay taxes, support their families, and work hard to make a better life
for their children.

Suddenly they are arrested, jailed and treated like criminals solely
because of their recreational drug of choice - which is less harmful
than alcohol or tobacco.

During President Clinton's administration, over 2.5 million Americans
have been arrested for marijuana offenses. FBI statistics indicate
that one marijuana user is arrested every 49 seconds in America.

It is time to end this police-state infringement of individual

It is time to stop jamming the jails full of nonviolent people whose
only "crime" is the enjoyment of a natural plant.

Let's focus police efforts on protecting people from real crimes, not
destroying their families and careers to feed the prison industry and
drug war police bureaucracies!

Will Smith
- ---
MAP posted-by: Derek Rea