Pubdate: Fri, 03 Mar 2000
Source: International Herald-Tribune
Copyright: International Herald Tribune 2000
Author: Robert Sharpe.


Regarding "Entering Colombia's Civil War Won't Solve the U S Problem'.
(Opinion, Feb.21) by William Pfaff.

Mr. Pfaff mentions a need to explore alternatives to the failed drug war. I
agree, but I was wondering what exactly were the "unforeseen consequences"
of the Dutch experiment with marijuana decriminalization? The worst I can
think of is the abundance of American tourists who visit Amsterdam eager for
a taste of freedom.

Drug use in the Netherlands is roughly half the U.S. rate of drug use. The
Dutch homicide rate is a quarter. By decriminalizing marijuana Dutch
policymakers have separated the hard and soft drug markets. In the United
States, marijuana users come into contact with pushers of hard drugs due to
marijuana's black market status.

It makes no sense to perpetuate draconian drug policies that facilitate the
introduction of hard drugs to youth. President Bill Clinton would be wise to
emulate the Dutch model rather than fund civil war in Colombia.

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