Pubdate: Sat, 15 Dec 2001
Source: Santa Barbara News-Press (CA)
Copyright: 2001 Santa Barbara News-Press
Author: Robin Frost


A recent letter to the editor had some interesting points about the 
decriminalization of drugs and how this would cut off much of terrorists' 
funding, but there are some obstacles to this, and they have to do with 
politics being the art of the possible.

One problem, faced by any politician who ran with the issue of legalizing 
cocaine and heroin, is that the candidate's opponent would smother him or 
her under an avalanche of motherhood and apple pie, because to be tough on 
drugs lends itself so well to political posturing and grandstanding.

In the unlikely event the candidate surmounted this problem, he or she 
would start getting nasty little messages from the drug cartels.

The whole drug war is a farce, of course, and as long as the drug trade is 
so profitable and such glamour is associated with it, courtesy of our pop 
culture, there's no rational reason to believe the flow of drugs will stop.

With huge profits to be made, drug pushers target teenagers, whose 
characters haven't fully formed, certain of having customers for life.

By educating people about the dangers of tobacco, the media have managed to 
make most people quit smoking.

Now that even conservatives are suggesting we consider decriminalization of 
what are essentially health-education issues like liquor and tobacco, I 
believe the other obstacles to legalization will soon become apparent:

Resistance by the world-class criminals, those with the most to lose. No 
doubt they have many politicians in their pockets, as well as other, more 
hideous ways of preventing the resolution of this mammoth problem.

Actually, three sectors would face massive losses should drugs be legalized:

The producers, the distributors and the law enforcers, both honest and 
corrupt, who face loss of work, as well as loss of payoffs. In other words, 
it's in the interests of the power players on both sides to oppose 
legalization, while preaching the most sanctimonious twaddle.

Lastly, I would like to make it clear that I do not advocate taking drugs.

The only ones I use are the legal ones, alcohol and caffeine. I might enjoy 
an occasional toke of marijuana, which is not addictive, but I refuse to 
pay the exorbitant price demanded by the gangsters who now control the 
trade in this relatively innocuous herb, and I don't want to risk arrest.

Robin Frost

Santa Barbara
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