Pubdate: Wed, 12 Apr 2000
Date: 04/12/2000
Source: Mountain Xpress (NC)
Author: Brian Kester

In reference to [my previous letter], "I D.A.R.E. You To Be
Nonconforming" [Jan. 5], it is true the D.A.R.E. program, with its big
glass case [filled with] drugs and paraphernalia =96 which they show
to kids in grade school =96 backfires.

One way or another, people will always learn of alternative
substances, since they have been an integral part of human evolution.
Kids, adults, spiritual seekers, the chemically imbalanced and
experience-adventurers are all drawn, by curiosity or need, to drugs
=96 and you can't stop human nature with all your money, Ritalin,
propaganda, tough love, force, persecution, prisons, fear and murder.
This whole War on Drugs does monstrous injustice to our citizens,
friends and families. But rather than fighting this civil/human
crisis, the focus should be on working toward a solution to not only
the drug problem, but the social disease of the War itself.

Why should you actually care about the dehumanization and suffering
endured by millions of honorable Americans through broken families,
long prison terms, court costs, loss of jobs, loss of property, loss
of voting rights, the destitution of addiction, death by cop, and all
sorts of miserable misfortune, all because of offenses which are of a
nonviolent nature?

And you think decriminalization of drugs would cause

What problems? The taxable work force would be strengthened by the
millions upon millions of drug offenders who would be released from
prisons =96 and by those who would never enter. Families could remain
intact, instead of children growing up without mommies and daddies
during holidays and birthdays, because of long prison terms over these
nonviolent behaviors. Decriminalization would save money and time in
the courts, all the while reducing rampant police corruption (like
cops using and selling crack and heroin), or the military terrorizing
... the indigenous people of South America. We could tax sales that
would otherwise be black-market, resulting in billions of dollars in
revenue. The cannabis-hemp industry would send a shock wave of healthy
competition through the megacorporate world. New innovations in
approaches to drug addiction as a treatable, social disease =96 rather
than a crime =96 could be instituted to profit the community as a
whole, and millions of citizens and families could begin to lead
functioning and productive lives, free of government

The War on Drugs costs us our morals, freedoms guaranteed in the
Constitution, and trillions of tax dollars to finance domestic
terrorism of our own citizens. ... The war is breeding a whole new
species of cops [who] richly prosper from violently fighting an
international, social problem ... which needs to be holistically
treated and healed rather than antagonized with persecution, fear,
dehumanization, murder and misinformation.

There should be a distinction between hard-core, addictive, synthetic
drugs =96 like cocaine, nicotine and heroin =96 and the benign,
natural cannabis hemp. Cannabis hemp can easily and naturally provide
a wealth of food, fuel, fiber and medicine at low cost =96 so in whose
interest is cannabis prohibition, anyway? Who would want this natural
wealth prohibited? The timber tycoons, the fuel/oil industry, the
American Medical Association, the pharmaceutical industry, big tobacco
[interests], Dow/Dupont and the chemicals-plastics industry,
megacorporations, a whole population of cops and prison guards and the
military. ...

Most people are afraid to discuss drug decriminalization, for fear of
attracting the evil eye. Doctors are afraid they'll lose their
licenses for advocating the medical benefits of marijuana; government
representatives fear losing votes and their jobs.

Whether you use pharmaceutical drugs or caffeine, whether you are
unfortunately addicted to cocaine, tobacco or heroin, or if you get
high on chocolate or social drinks, whether you use cannabis for
medicinal, inspirational or recreational purposes, whether you
advocate personal, civil liberties of any kind =96 I say it's not only
your moral duty and in your financial interest, but ... your legal
obligation to engage in the debate to end this civil/human-rights
catastrophe. ... Do anything, but do something! Vote, write letters
and call your representatives and tell them to end the War on Drugs;
decriminalize cannabis hemp and treat hard-core addiction to cocaine,
tobacco, heroin and alcohol as a disease =96 not a crime. If nothing
else, write one letter to the media.

If you're registered to vote in Asheville, sign the petition (by April
20) for a referendum to make marijuana/cannabis/hemp violations the
lowest priority of local law enforcement. These petitions and
referendums are being passed all over the country. ... Asheville's
petition is based on the first one adopted in the country, in
Berkeley, Calif. ...

Don't be afraid to speak up =96 while you still can.

Brian Kester,