Pubdate: Thu. 27 Feb 2003
Source: Free Lance-Star, The (VA)
Copyright: 2003 The Free Lance-Star
Author: Lennice Werth


As well-meaning as he is, Attorney General Jerry Kilgore ["Drug laws
send message to youngsters," Feb. 9] got a lot wrong in his column
opposing the reform of marijuana laws.

First, nobody in the state of Virginia is advocating legalization for
underage consumers. The whole point of Mr. Kilgore's column is that we
have to protect children, but it is this policy of total prohibition
that puts our kids in harm's way! By not having something like an
Alcoholic Beverage Control Board store for the herb, we put it on the
street where kids are exposed. Everyone who wants to keep kids away
from illegal drugs needs to consider this fact very carefully.

Next, Mr. Kilgore proceeded to weave together the dangers and effects
of marijuana, alcohol and other drugs to imply that the harms of
alcohol have something to do with marijuana. Not only is this
incorrect, but as alcohol producers are aware, the consumption of
drink historically decreases with the higher consumption of marijuana.

Maybe that is why Budweiser donates money to the Partnership for a
Drug Free America. As for the other drugs, here again--we expose kids
to them by enforcing a total prohibition.

Whatever the harmful effects of marijuana are, none can compare to the
harm done by the policy Mr. Kilgore advocates. Our prisons are
overflowing with drug offenders and soon, there will be no money left
to incarcerate the violent. The prison system is a breeding ground for
tuberculosis and other communicable diseases, which spill out into the
law-abiding community.

A recent Time magazine poll said that 47 percent of all Americans have
tried marijuana. How many of these folks should we put behind bars?

Kilgore's last point about terrorism is outrageous. How does he think
the drug money that any crook or terrorist can use for all kinds of
evil deeds comes into being? The laws prohibiting drugs create
extremely high prices. This money would not exist if all the
high-minded politicians like Mr. Kilgore would stop trying to make
political hay out of drug-abuse problems and start using a bit of logic.

The attorney general is probably running for governor here, and many
will read his words and think they make sense, but he is advocating
the very policy that creates the mess. These laws are creating more
harm, and they are contrary to the American ideal of individual freedom.

Maybe if we clear our heads of the political doublespeak and try to
return to our roots of liberty and justice, we can eventually succeed
in keeping kids away from harmful drugs.

Lennice Werth

- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake