Pubdate: Wed, 23 Jul 2003
Source: News & Observer (NC) 
Copyright: 2003 The News and Observer Publishing Company
Author: Ron Pappalardo
Bookmark: (Terrorism)
Bookmark: (Traffic)


Former police officer Peter Moskos, in his July 16 Op-ed article
"Lockups won't win drug war," made a strong case for rethinking the
30-year-old "War on Drugs." There's another reason we need to
seriously consider legalization. From North Korean heroin smugglers to
Columbian FARC terrorists, there isn't a rogue nation or terrorist
group in the world that doesn't receive significant income from drugs.
We won't win the war against terror if we don't stop illegal drug
trafficking. Ironically, the only way to do this is to legalize such
drugs. Conservatives like William F. Buckley, Milton Friedman, George
Schultz and Gov. Gary Johnson have already recognized this. This
doesn't mean we should condone drug use, but we must take the trade
away from the terrorists and warlords if we are to stabilize nations
like Afghanistan. Legitimate governments will then be able to regulate
the trade, defund the criminals, and derive revenue from a
multibillion-dollar trade that in current reality is tax-exempt.

If we do this, our experience with Prohibition suggests we will see a
dramatic decline in murder rates, a sharp decrease in prison
populations and law enforcement savings in the billions of dollars
annually, without a significant increase in drug usage.

Our present policy of destroying coca farms in South America breeds
resentment and strengthens the terrorist cause. Imagine the outrage if
European Union airplanes dropped herbicides on North Carolina tobacco
fields to fight cigarette smoking!

We urgently need to begin a national debate on this issue and explore
the establishment of an ABC Commission-type agency for drugs.

Ron Pappalardo

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