Pubdate: Wed, 18 Apr 2001
Source: International Herald-Tribune (France)
Copyright: International Herald Tribune 2001
Authors: Mike Pylar, Sterling Doughty


Regarding the report "In Capital of Ecstasy, the Dutch Practice Tolerance"

A logical, measured drug policy eludes the United States because all illicit
substances are treated as equal. A growing majority of the world's citizens
realizes not only that each drug is different, but that treating them the
same way restricts our ability to control the most harmful drugs.

Legalization does not mean a full-blown, unrestricted, unregulated scheme,
similar to the black market system that reigns in most countries today.

If the statistics are to be believed, the Dutch model is the most effective
and least harmful drug policy implemented by any nation. The people of the
Netherlands have concluded that marijuana and heroin are completely
different and each requires regulation based on its actual harm to society.

The United States should remove marijuana from the mix of illegal
substances, allow the funding generated from its taxed, controlled and
regulated sale to be directed at prevention, education and treatment for the
most dangerous products and the drug "problem" would be transformed from a
raging tiger to an alley cat.


Kremmling, Colorado.

Regarding the report "Bowing to 'Social Reality,' Swiss Seek to Soften Drug
Laws" (March 26):

Switzerland is taking a courageous and intelligent step in its decision to
allow the personal use of marijuana.

The Swiss have recognized that a large percentage of their young people
smoke marijuana. They also know that there is no negative social effect when
marijuana is smoked in moderation. In that respect it is similar to but less
damaging than alcohol.

The Swiss have decided to concentrate their resources against the really
dangerous drugs - meth, cocaine and heroin - where they will probably be
much more effective than they are today, with resources not wasted on
personal marijuana use.

The strategy - largely American and Third World - that draconian penalties
will stop all drug use simply does not work. Look at the cost/benefit ratio
of the U.S. "Drug War" : thousands of lives destroyed, prisons bursting,
billions of dollars spent and the problem remains virtually unchanged.

Other nations would do well to have a close look at the sensible Swiss move.


Adliswil, Switzerland.
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