Pubdate: Tue, 07 Mar 2006
Source: Daily Iowan, The (IA Edu)
Copyright: 2006 The Daily Iowan
Author: Jack A. Cole


As the executive director of the world's largest organization of
police, judges, and other criminal-justice professionals who oppose
the policy of drug Prohibition, I'd like to echo Lia Anthony
("Commendable stand," Feb. 28).

Regardless of how we choose to assess the potential health benefits
and/or risk attached to marijuana use, having the criminal-justice
system as the primary arm of public response is bad policy. Using
police and the criminal courts to punish marijuana users leaves cops
short on needed manpower and resources needed to deal with street
level crimes against persons and/or property.

The cited motivation of those insisting on continued marijuana
prohibition is its potential risk to health and well-being. But cops
are not health-care professionals. Prison cells are not places where
health care and treatment take place. And a lifetime criminal record
will most certainly hamper the health of one's long-term future.

By all means, increase accurate education about marijuana to all
citizens and make any needed medical care more accessible to all
citizens. But don't shackle the police with a job that should be
reserved for health-care professionals and educators.

More important - based on our combined decades of experience fighting
the so-called "drug war" - it's time to legalize marijuana and move
production and distribution into a licensed and regulated setting.
This need is even more urgent if one views pot as a dangerous drug. It
is our opinion that risky and dangerous substances are best
distributed in controlled and regulated settings. Such regulation is
impossible under a system of criminal prohibition.


Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

Executive Director 
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