Pubdate: Sun, 16 Dec 2001
Source: Gazette, The (CO)
Copyright: 2001 The Gazette
Author: Steve Adams


While state and federal so-called leaders stand united supporting the 
irrational war on drugs, history stands with those who, far from endorsing 
them, maintain that legalization, or at least decriminalization, is in 
order. Cut to the early 1900s. Instead of supporting freedom and seeking to 
educate citizens about the consequences of consuming alcohol, 
prohibitionists declared all alcoholic beverages destructive and used 
government force to outlaw them. Otherwise law-abiding citizens who 
disagreed but lacked political clout simply consumed privately.

Unwilling to risk incarceration, the more civilized free market yielded to 
the black market which became controlled by those ultimately willing to 
kill for money. Further, the lack of standards cheated consumers on content 
and killed them with impurities while the poor and powerless received jail 
time and innocent lives were lost in shootouts. Sound familiar? Today, even 
after Prohibition's demise, alcohol continues to take its toll.

Social stigma, education, and rehabilitation have dampened some of its 
destructiveness. What has been gained, though, is an end to incarceration 
for a victimless transaction, an end to gangland violence, and, most 
importantly, freedom to choose and the responsibility that goes with it. 
Ultimately, the same would be true for legalized drugs.

Steve Adams

Colorado Springs
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