Pubdate: Fri, 12 Jul 2002
Source: Salt Lake Tribune (UT)
Copyright: 2002 The Salt Lake Tribune
Author: Nathan Holdaway


As a pot smoker I am sick and tired of people judging "my kind" as stoners, 
lawbreakers, and/or social deviants.

I will graduate college this fall. While I go to school I work 40 hours a 
week while taking a course load of 18 credit hours of upper-division courses.

I have never been arrested, I pay my taxes, vote, exercise, contribute to a 
401k, etc., as do many of my fellow pot-smokers. I have personally smoked 
with members of my school's faculty who hold very respected positions.

The point is that I am not going away. Neither are any of my colleagues. 
Every year government spends more and more money incarcerating drug 
offenders while releasing rapists and kidnappers to make room. Yet has the 
war on drugs done anything to me? No. In fact the cost for me to buy a bag 
has gone down -- which in simple economics means that the demand for it has 

In 1995 the state of Utah ranked 34th in the nation for marijuana 
production yet it was still our No. 2 cash crop behind hay. The 16,000 
pounds of Utah-grown marijuana that year had an estimated street value 
between $69 million and $111 million.

The war on drugs was only able to eradicate 5 percent of that year's crop, 
or $5 million worth.

Legalization would generate revenue from taxes, create jobs, and free up 
funds from our already overcrowded prison system.

The reality is that the "War on Drugs" causes more crime than it 
eradicates. For every "dealer" arrested there are five to 10 more who will 
take his place. Someone you know and love smokes pot. Are they criminals?

A distinction needs to be made: Is it the crime that is committed when high 
that is illegal or is it being high that is illegal?

People get high every day without breaking the law. And what business is it 
of yours or the government's what I put into my body as long as I do not 
harm another individual on this planet?


Salt Lake City
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