Pubdate: Wed, 15 Feb 2006
Source: Iowa City Press-Citizen (IA)
Copyright: 2006 Iowa City Press-Citizen
Author: Greg Francisco
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Drug Raids)


Reducing penalties for simple possession of marijuana would, "send 
the wrong message," says Johnson County Attorney, J. Patrick White 
("White Responds to Marijuana Idea's," Feb 10).

So, what is the "right" message? That we should continue throwing 
billions of dollars annually at marijuana prohibition with no 
tangible result? That it is the proper role of government to protect 
adult citizens from themselves? Or perhaps the message White wishes 
to send is that doing the same old thing over and over and expecting 
different results really isn't all that insane after all?

As a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, I would say that 
maintaining draconian penalties for marijuana while raking in huge 
tax revenues from the sale of alcohol sends a message, too. The 
message that people should use alcohol, a drug with an annual death 
toll in excess of 100,000 rather than marijuana, which kills zero. 
More Americans are killed in any given year during botched drug raids 
than have died in all of recorded world history from actually using 
marijuana. That should send a message, too, if anyone cared to listen.

Eighty years ago, our grandparents fought another drug war: 
Prohibition. It was abandoned, not because people decided that 
alcohol wasn't so dangerous after all. Rather, they learned that by 
driving alcohol underground, Prohibition simply made the problem worse.

Certainly today's system of government regulation and oversight, 
along with clerks that check ID, has not solved all societal problems 
related to alcohol But can anyone say it isn't infinitely better than 
when gangsters and criminal syndicates were running the show? The 
only thing drug dealers ask to see from our children is the cash.

Regulate, tax, control ... there is a better way.

Greg Francisco

Paw Paw, Michigan