Pubdate: Tue, 28 Nov 2000
Source: Register-Guard, The (OR)
Copyright: 2000 The Register-Guard
Contact:  PO Box 10188, Eugene, OR 97440-2188
Author: Richard Lemer


Enemies of freedom and democracy have been dealt a crippling blow. Having
for two decades grown fat, and ever more dependent on lucrative proceeds
from seizures to finance their unconstitutional war on drugs, the police are
bemoaning the passage of Measure 3.

Local and state police are incredibly brazen and completely unabashed about
their routine taking of property without first obtaining a conviction, and
in many cases without having charged anyone with a crime.

Police at all levels have become so addicted to the spoils of the drug war
that the budgets of agencies and municipalities throughout the nation depend
on hundreds of millions of dollars worth of seized assets that are taken
from Americans annually. It has been legalized theft through
unconstitutional legislation.

But now in Oregon, it will be no more. This is most assuredly a defeat for
those who so zealously wage the war on drugs against the American people.

Perhaps the next election will find us putting an end to incarceration for
drug users and instead prescribing treatment for them. This is not only a
matter of conscience, but also an economic matter. The cost of prison beds
for ever-growing populations of nonviolent offenders has forced many states
to the brink of bankruptcy. Meanwhile, due to lack of space, violent
prisoners are turned out to prey upon society.

Once again, Oregonians have shown the nation that we embrace progressive,
sensible leadership. Who knows? Without outgoing House Speaker Lynn
Snodgrass, we might even legalize industrial hemp farming.

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