Pubdate: Tue, 18 May 1999
Source: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (NY)
Copyright: 1999sRochester Democrat and Chronicle
Contact:  55 Exchange Blvd. Rochester, NY 14614
Fax: (716) 258-2356
Author: Keith Sanders
Note: D&C accepts letters only from Rochester NY-area residents;
length limit 175 words.



Governor Pataki's proposals for insignificant tinkering with the Rockefeller
drug laws, rather than the needed overhaul, show how little respect he has
for our judicial system, and for the people of New York State.

It wasn't enough that federal and state authorities have already robbed
citizens of the right to make their own decisions about which substances to
put into their bodies.  The decision to prohibit certain drugs, rather than
intelligently regulating them as we do with alcohol and tobacco, has had
disastrous and expensive consequences nationwide.  Strict prohibition of
these substances is as counterproductive now as alcohol Prohibition was in
the 1920's.

No, it wasn't enough to take that responsibility from citizens. Pataki now
insists that New York judges, juries, and parole boards aren't qualified to
make any decisions in this matter, either.  He still wants mandatory
minimums, and he wants to trade his tiny concessions for severe limits on
parole options for non-violent offenders.

It's time to let New Yorkers decide these questions, not just the Governor.
Let's repeal the Rockefeller laws.

Keith Sanders
Penfield NY

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