Pubdate: Mon, 13 Aug 2001
Source: St. Petersburg Times (FL)
Copyright: 2001 St. Petersburg Times
Author: Tom Maciocha


Re: U.S. versus them.

It is rare that we are given the opportunity to step back and look at the 
big picture of prohibition in the United States without being subjected to 
atavistic, politically safe rantings of agency pod people. Thank you! Real 
journalism still lives.

The primary driving forces behind our failed "drug war" have become obvious 
to any reasonably impartial person. They are: racism and political dollars. 
We have removed to prison an entire generation of black men in a manner 
that is disgraceful.

The numbers of dollars spent on prisons, police, corrections, probations 
and the endless stream of studies and legislation, not to mention profits 
made on prison labor, make the "war" big business. It is rare for any 
politician to even imply that we are throwing human beings and money down a 
bottomless hole and not be branded as being evil incarnate.

The two letters on Aug. 7 (Sound, balanced policy lessens illegal drug use 
and Drug series was skewed) from the directors of two of the agencies that 
continue on in their war manage to repeat, ad infinitum, the statistics of 
their success. We even have a quote in The Weekly Standard that Holland has 
become a den of iniquity. Some would argue that the quality of life in 
Holland is superior to that of this country. If we look at education, 
recreation, crime and wooden shoe production, Holland beats us hands down. 
The last time I strolled the streets there I saw very few "sex-obsessed 
druggies." They do, however, put mayonnaise on their french fries.

It is interesting that the agency people never mention the statistics on 
alcohol use, tobacco deaths, prescription drug abuse and corn dog 
consumption. All of these are far more likely to kill us than pot.

Can someone please explain to me the difference, besides the crazy 
statutes, between the guy at the liquor store who sells me a bottle of 
tequila and the guy who sells me cannabis?

The DEA can poison every single plant in South America and shoot down 
missionary planes in an ever more efficient manner, but if the demand 
remains, there will always be a source to supply it. The demand, of course, 
comes from a life which is not quite measuring up to hope.

- -- Tom Maciocha, Palm Harbor
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom