Pubdate: Tue, 28 Aug 2001
Source: International Herald-Tribune (France)
Copyright: International Herald Tribune 2001
Author: Robert Sharpe
Note: Referenced article originally appeared in The Washington Post
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


Regarding the editorial "Misplaced Priorities" (Aug. 25):

The editorial was right on target. In order to justify ever-expanding 
budgets, U.S. drug warriors claim they target major drug kingpins who 
traffic in heroin and cocaine. U.S. government statistics reveal otherwise.

The drug war in America is in large part a war against marijuana, by far 
the most popular illicit drug. In 1999 there were 704,812 arrests for 
marijuana, 620,541 for possession alone.

For a drug that has never been shown to cause an overdose death, the 
allocation of resources used to enforce marijuana laws is outrageous.

Of course, a reform of marijuana laws would derail the entire drug war 
gravy train.

Marijuana is demonized as a "gateway" drug that leads to harder drugs. In 
fact, marijuana prohibition is best described as a gateway policy. Illicit 
marijuana provides the black market contacts that introduce users to hard 
drugs like heroin.

And let's not kid ourselves about protecting children. The thriving black 
market has no age controls.

A country founded on the concept of limited government is using its 
superpower status to export a dangerous moral crusade around the globe.

America's cherished Bill of Rights is increasingly irrelevant thanks to 
drug war exemptions. It is not possible to wage a moralistic war against 
consensual vices unless privacy is completely eliminated.

America can either be a free country or a "drug-free" country, but not both.


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