Pubdate: Mon, 09 Oct 2000
Source: Honolulu Advertiser (HI)
Copyright: 2000 The Honolulu Advertiser, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
Contact:  P.O. Box 3110 Honolulu, HI 96802
Fax: (808) 525-8037
Author: Donald M. Topping
Note: Author is President, Drug Policy Forum of Hawai`i


As a longtime observer of the shredding of the Constitution by the
tactics used in the failed war on drugs, I am encouraged by the
article "High court examines searches" (Advertiser, Oct. 4). Hopefully
the Supreme Court will stand by our constitutional Bill of Rights and
act to curtail some of the egregious police tactics employed
throughout the country, including Hawai`i, such as:

Warrantless searches, such as those conducted by drug-sniffing dogs
and infrared heat sensors. They clearly violate the Fourth Amendment.

Cases of asset forfeiture in which nobody is charged with a crime.
That violates the Fifth Amendment.

Long, mandatory minimum sentences for first-time nonviolent drug law
offenders. They violate the Eighth Amendment.

The federal government's refusal to recognize the medical marijuana
lawsin eight states. That violates the 10th Amendment.

It is time we stand up for the protections offered by the Constitution
and demand a review and evaluation of the failed war on drugs and the
way it threatens our constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms.
It is time we look for more effective alternative means to deal with
the problems of substance abuse.

Donald M. Topping,
President, Drug Policy Forum of Hawai`i
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