Pubdate: Wed, 11 Oct 2006
Source: San Mateo County Times, The (CA)
Copyright: 2006 ANG Newspapers
Author: Robert Sharpe
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Bookmark: (Youth)


San Mateo County's hazardous methamphetamine labs are reminiscent of 
the deadly exploding liquor stills that sprang up throughout the 
nation during alcohol prohibition. Drug policies modeled after 
alcohol prohibition have given rise to a youth-oriented black market. 
Illegal drug dealers don't ID for age, but they do recruit minors 
immune to adult sentences. So much for protecting the children.

Throwing more money at the problem is no solution. Attempts to limit 
the supply of drugs while demand remains constant only increases the 
profitability of drug trafficking. For addictive drugs like meth, a 
spike in street prices leads desperate addicts to increase criminal 
activity to feed desperate habits. The drug war doesn't fight crime, 
it fuels crime.

Taxing and regulating marijuana, the most popular illicit drug, is a 
cost-effective alternative to never-ending drug war. As long as 
marijuana distribution remains in the hands of organized crime, 
consumers will continue to come into contact with sellers of hard 
drugs like meth. This "gateway" is the direct result of a 
fundamentally flawed policy.

Given that marijuana is arguably safer than legal alcohol -- the 
plant has never been shown to cause an overdose death -- it makes no 
sense to waste tax dollars on failed policies that finance organized 
crime and facilitate the use of hard drugs. Drug policy reform may 
send the wrong message to children, but I like to think the children 
are more important than the message.

Robert Sharpe

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.
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