Pubdate: Mon, 19 May 2003
Source: The Monitor (TX)
Copyright: 2003 The Monitor
Author: Jerry Epstein


To the editor:

Thank you for your insight that it is only due to prohibition that drug 
sales can fuel terrorism - and violent groups from youth gangs to 
revolutionaries ("Rethinking Colombia: U.S. should reconsider its war on 
drugs," May 13).

It is these profits a la Capone that make drugs more available than legal 
drugs to our young, from dealers who don't ask for IDs. Already-dangerous 
drugs are made more dangerous by lack of regulation.

In a society where some 70 percent of the young have experimented with an 
illegal drug by age 22, that's the same recipe for disaster as bootleg 
liquor. Conversely, less than 2 percent are actually addicted to an illegal 
drug - too many, but not the result most people picture.

While we get incensed about Colombia, the biggest producer of illegal drugs 
by weight is the U.S. The Los Angeles Times now reports that Mexican 
cartels have grown more and more marijuana in Sequoia National Park for 
each of the last 10 years and they operate methamphetamine ("speed") labs 
in the nearby Central Valley. Meanwhile, the U.S. government issues "speed" 
to our pilots in Iraq.

In Holland, marijuana has been semi-legal for over a quarter-century with 
no bad effects. The U.S. made more than 10 million arrests for marijuana - 
which is like a glass of wine but less intoxicating - and can't understand 
why there's a shortage of funds for proper health care and education.

The drug war (prohibition) is not a policy, it's just a modern version of a 
rain dance.

Jerry Epstein,

Drug Policy Forum of Texas,

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