Pubdate: Sun, 14 Aug 2005
Source: Knoxville News-Sentinel (TN)
Copyright: 2005 The Knoxville News-Sentinel Co.
Author: Robert Sharpe


Your July 27 editorial was right on target. The financial incentives created
by civil asset forfeiture laws create a dangerous precedent. Police can
confiscate cars, cash and homes without bothering to charge owners with a

Vague allegations of drug trafficking don't justify turning what
should be protectors of the peace into financial predators. The drug
war threatens the integrity of a country founded on the concept of
limited government.

Police searches on public transit, drug-sniffing dogs in schools and
random drug testing have led to a loss of civil liberties while
failing miserably at preventing drug use. A majority of European Union
countries have decriminalized marijuana.

Despite marijuana prohibition and perhaps because of forbidden fruit
appeal, lifetime use of marijuana is higher in the United States than
any European country.

The United States now has the highest incarceration rate in the world,
in large part due to the war on some drugs. At an average cost of
$26,134 per inmate annually, maintaining the world's largest prison
system can hardly be considered fiscally conservative.

It's not possible to wage a moralistic war against consensual vices
unless privacy is completely eliminated, along with the Constitution.
America can be a free country or a drug-free country but not both.

Robert Sharpe

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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