Pubdate: Mon, 30 Apr 2001
Source: The Herald-Palladium (MI)
Address: P.O. Box 128, St. Joseph, Michigan 49085
Contact:  2001 The Herald-Palladium
Fax: (616) 429-4398
Author: John Murphy



For years I have told friends and family that "We will not develop a
sane drug policy in this country until Grandma is strip searched on
the front steps of a Baptist church." It looks like that would be a
blessing compared to gunning down Baptist missionaries over Peru. We
have reached a point in our hysterical pursuit of contraband drugs
where we can't tell drug traffickers from missionaries! Many people
think this incident can be blamed on the Peruvian government.

The truth of the matter is that this fiasco is funded by money taken
from the pockets of the American people under the guise of "law and
order." We, the people of these United States, have pulled the trigger
on innocent people to keep a policy in place that is nothing more than
a flash back to the Capone era.

The black market drug trade in the United States is estimated at $150
billion per year. The number one cash crop in the United States is

The U.S. government estimates the profit on contraband drugs is about
20,000 percent. Drug traffickers can easily afford to have 90 percent
of their product confiscated and still afford to drive Cadillacs to
their lakefront summer homes. Do we really think the drug crime in
this country is run by a bunch of sharecroppers slumping around on
burros? Our current drug policy is nothing more than trickle down
economics. Hire more police, so you can hire more judges, so you can
hire more lawyers, so you can build more prisons so you can hire more
corrections officers, so you can sell more automobiles and
refrigerators. This is a sinister way to boost the economy. The budget
for drug enforcement increased 12,000 percent between 1973 and 1993
and keeps on climbing.

We are locking up our citizens at an alarming rate. We pay
$25,000-$40,000 per year per inmate to keep them in prison. We have
locked up 1 in 40 men in this country between the ages of 14 to 34. We
spend $10 billion-$30 billion a year to try to stop illegal drugs from
coming in to this country.

There is no question that we need to protect our young people from
harmful drugs. Ask your children if it is easier to get alcohol,
marihuana or cocaine. You may be surprised with the answer. They can
buy drugs from a buddy in the school parking lot but they need an
adult to buy beer.

The way to stop this crime is to legalize marihuana, cocaine and
heroin. Tax it enough to pay for rehab centers, and sentence anyone
selling marihuana, cocaine, heroin, or alcohol to minors to two years
in prison. The money we are spending on the "drug war" can be better
spent on educating our young people about the down side of drugs.
Let's stop trading lives for dollars.

John Murphy, Bridgman
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