Pubdate: Thu, 21 Jun 2001
Source: Arizona Republic (AZ)
Copyright: 2001 The Arizona Republic
Author: Wayne Daniel


To quote from Sunday's column by Doug MacEachern, "The straight dope": 
"There is a clear connection between drug use and criminal activity in 
Maricopa County." Well, duh.

Drug use is criminal activity. The high prices caused by the risk of 
criminal prosecution, combined with drugs' debilitating side effects, mean 
that many users can only afford their habit by engaging in robbery and 

Why not have the government distribute taxed drugs? Middlemen such as those 
in Mexico will be out of business. Colombian farmers can sell to the U.S. 
government instead of the drug cartels. The government collects tax money 
that can be used for rehabilitation and education. Prison populations 
decline by 25 percent to 50 percent. Drug dealing is no longer an 
attractive alternative to productive labor.

Yes, there will probably be an (initial) surge in use. However, once the 
"newness" wears off and the tax funds begin to be spent on education and 
treatment, drug use will decline, just as it has for tobacco.

If we let private industry handle distribution, there will always be 
pressure on them to increase use. The government should be immune from such 

The downside: a whole new federal bureaucracy and a wave of unemployment in 
law enforcement agencies.

Wayne Daniel
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth