Pubdate: Sun, 28 Oct 2001
Source: High Point Enterprise (NC)
Copyright: 2001 High Point (N.C.) Enterprise
Author: Jerry Epstein
Related: , , ,
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Doug Clark asks how drugs would be "legalized" (Oct. 23). The thoughtful
responses of many (Oct. 25) are doubtless correct in their general point
that prohibition causes a great deal of harm and offers nothing positive in
return, but to be pragmatic, a specific test is required.

We need only to test two of the thousands of illegal drugs to see which side
is right.

The first is marijuana because it is clearly less dangerous than alcohol,
and we know that its "legalization" by the Dutch for more than 25 years has
had no more impact than the introduction a new brand of beer. We simply
could ban off-premise advertising and public use and weigh the results of
sale to adults by present liquor stores.

Second, we could adopt the halfway measure begun by the Swiss seven years
ago and sell heroin to registered addicts. If nothing else, this would deny
terrorists and other criminals billions of dollars. In fact, the Swiss have
found sharp reductions in crime, large financial savings and no overdose

The program easily could be reversed if we failed to get similar results.
Or, if it worked, expanded to include prescription sale to licensed adults,
a move that would dry up the easy access to heroin that the young now have.

A similar system was used in Shreveport from 1919 to 1923 and worked great
until the federal government shut it down over the strong protests of local
citizens, including law-enforcement officials.

Clark is like a car owner boasting that his car is faster than his
neighbor's but refusing to actually have a race to find out. It's time for a

Jerry Epstein, Houston, Texas
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