Pubdate: Wed, 23 Feb 2005
Source: Revelstoke Times Review (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 Bowes Publishers
Author: Kirk Tousaw


Your Feb. 16 editorial on crystal meth betrayed a significant lack of 
understanding about the effectiveness of drug prohibition.

You make the assumption that cracking down on drugs by using the criminal 
law will actually produce some positive results. Yet the evidence, after a 
century of prohibition and two decades of a "war on drugs," is that 
prohibition reduces neither supply of drugs nor demand for drugs. Put more 
bluntly: prohibition is an abject failure.

Indeed, the most dangerous illicit drugs in our society exist only because 
of prohibition. Crack was invented in order to make the sale of cocaine 
easier (cheap, easy to conceal and high potency rocks instead of bulkier, 
more expensive powder). Smoking crystal meth became popular during prohibition.

Methamphetamine itself was commonly used as a stimulant and appetite 
suppressant as recently as the 1950s (and not prohibited criminally until 
the 1970s), with some ill effects but nowhere near the human devastation 
caused after it became illegal.

And prohibition causes other immense social problems, from funding and 
fueling organized crime to the petty thefts committed by addicts seeking to 
pay for massively overpriced street drugs.

Blind faith in prohibition is a mistake. Indeed, I challenge anyone to 
point to an example of a successful (reduction of supply and demand) 
criminal drug prohibition anywhere in the non-totalitarian world.

There isn't one - so isn't it time we tried something new?

Kirk Tousaw

Campaign Manager

British Columbia Marijuana Party

Vancouver, B.C. 
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