Pubdate: Wed, 28 Sep 2005
Source: Salisbury Post (NC)
Copyright: 2005 Post Publishing Co.
Author: Kirk Muse


I'm writing about your thoughtful editorial: "Labs' danger can 
linger" (Sept. 11). No doubt meth can be very dangerous to the users 
and to our environment. So why do people use meth?

I submit that the vast majority of drug users would use only 
marijuana if it were available at a reasonable price. But it is not 
available at a reasonable price. In the late 1960's and early 1970's, 
marijuana sold for $10 an ounce. Now it sells for several hundred 
dollars an ounce.

Today's price of marijuana is the result of the "prohibition tax" 
which goes to organized criminals.

If a beer drinker cannot find his or her favorite brand of beer, they 
switch to another brand. If they cannot get any beer, they switch to 
another type of alcoholic beverage. If a marijuana user cannot obtain 
marijuana at a reasonable price, many switch to other drugs -- like 
meth. And because marijuana is illegal, it is sold only by criminals, 
criminals who often sell other drugs -- like meth. And their 
marijuana suppliers often give out free samples of other drugs -- like meth.

Thus the so-called "gateway effect."

If marijuana were legally available in licensed business 
establishments like tobacco and alcohol are, our meth problem would 
be a tiny fraction of what it is today.

Of course, many will claim that legalizing, regulating and 
controlling the sale and production of marijuana will "send the wrong 
message" to our children. But what message are we sending to our 
children by regulating, controlling and taxing the sale and 
production of tobacco products?

Kirk Muse

Mesa, Ariz.
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