Pubdate: Thu, 01 Apr 2004
Source: Star-News (NC)
Copyright: 2004 Wilmington Morning Star
Author: Robert Sharpe


EDITOR: North Carolina's hazardous methamphetamine
labs are reminiscent of the deadly exploding liquor stills that sprang
up throughout the nation during alcohol prohibition. Drug policies
modeled after alcohol prohibition have given rise to a youth-oriented
black market. Illegal drug dealers don't ID for age, but they do
recruit minors immune to adult sentences. So much for protecting the

Throwing more money at the problem is no solution. Attempts to limit
the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains constant only
increase the profitability of trafficking. For addictive drugs like
meth, a spike in street prices leads desperate addicts to increase
criminal activity to feed desperate habits. The drug war doesn't fight
crime, it fuels crime. Taxing and regulating marijuana, the most
popular illicit drug, is a cost-effective alternative to never-ending
drug war. As long as marijuana distribution remains in the hands of
organized crime, consumers will continue to come into contact with
sellers of hard drugs like meth. This "gateway" is the direct result
of a fundamentally flawed policy.

Given that marijuana is arguably safer than legal alcohol - the plant
has never been shown to cause an overdose death - it makes no sense to
waste tax dollars on failed policies that finance organized crime and
facilitate the use of hard drugs. Drug policy reform may send the
wrong message to children, but I like to think the children are more
important than the message.

Robert Sharpe

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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