Pubdate: Fri, 18 Jan 2002
Source: Springfield News-Leader (MO)
Address: 651 Boonville, Springfield MO 65806
Contact:  2002 The Springfield News-Leader
Author: Kevin Cantrell
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


Re: Mr. Riggins' Jan. 14 letter, "Jail space wasted on drug offenders."

I must agree with Mr. Riggins. Our "war" on drugs has become a bit 
misguided when we let violent offenders out to make room for mandatory 
sentencing of nonviolent drug offenders.

As a retired musician who grew up in the 1970s, I personally saw what drugs 
can do to destroy lives. I'm not suggesting the legalizing of all drugs, 
but I've never known anybody to smoke a joint and then go up on the roof 
with a rifle.

Our country should take a lesson from history. Prohibition didn't work in 
the 1920s, and I guarantee it won't work today. All prohibition does is put 
money into criminal hands.

We pay farmers not to grow certain crops. Well, let them grow pot, let it 
be handled the way tobacco is by packaging it and taxing it, and I bet we 
could pay off any national debts and have money left over. I know there are 
many people who would love to walk into a store and pay $20 or more for a pack.

Let's get our priorities straight. Let's take the money away from the 
criminals and put it in the public's pocket to help pay for rehab rather 
than jail on drug offenders, and keep violent criminals behind bars.

Kevin Cantrell, Springfield
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