Pubdate: Mon, 06 Jun 2005
Source: Journal Standard, The (Freeport, IL)
Copyright: 2005 The Journal Standard
Author: Kirk Muse


I'm writing about your thoughtful editorial: "Mandatory minimums a smoke 
screen" (5-22-05).

I'd like to add that if tough-on-drugs policies worked, the quixotic goal 
of a drug-free America would have been reached a long time ago.

And if tolerant drug policies created more drug use, the Netherlands would 
have much higher drug usage rates than the United States.

They do not.

In fact, the Dutch use marijuana and other recreational drugs at much lower 
rates than Americans do. See the Web site: And if tolerant drug policies 
caused more overall crime, especially violent crime, the Dutch would have 
much higher crime rates than the U.S.

They do not.

The Dutch murder rate is less than one-third the U.S. per capita murder 
rate, and their rate of incarceration is about one-seventh the U.S. 
incarceration rate.

In the Netherlands, marijuana is sold to adults without criminal sanctions 
in coffee shops.

In the United States, marijuana is sold by criminals who often sell other, 
much more dangerous drugs, and who often offer free samples of the more 
dangerous drugs to their marijuana customers - thus the gateway effect.

Legalize, regulate and control the sale of marijuana and we close the 
gateway. I'd like to add that I have never seen heroin, cocaine, LSD or 
methamphetamine. However, I was offered free samples of these dangerous 
drugs on several occasions, by my marijuana suppliers, when I was a user of 
marijuana, which is more than 15 years ago.

Like the vast majority of marijuana users, I was only interested in 
marijuana and no other illegal drugs.

Fortunately, I turned down all offers of free samples of other drugs. 
Unfortunately, many others do not - thus the gateway effect.

Kirk Muse

Mesa, Ariz.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom