Pubdate: Mon, 10 May 2004
Source: Bristol Herald Courier (VA)
Copyright: 2004 Bristol Herald Courier
Author: Robert Sharpe


Virginia's hazardous methamphetamine labs are reminiscent of the deadly 
exploding liquor stills that sprang up 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 children.

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 a 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.

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

Arlington, Va.
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