Pubdate: Thu, 30 Mar 2006
Source: News & Reporter (SC)
Copyright: 2006 Chester News & Reporter
Author: Kirk Muse


To the Editor:

I'm writing about Harvey Neiblum's thoughtful column: "Should
marijuana be a legalized drug?" (March 17). For those who say no, my
question is why do they want marijuana to remain completely
un-regulated, un-taxed and controlled by criminals? Only legal
products of any kind can be regulated, taxed and controlled by any
government. It seems to me that in order to properly evaluate our
nation's drug policies, we need to compare and contrast our drug
policies with those of another nation with dramatically different drug
policies. I suggest that we use the Czech Republic for our comparison.

In the Czech Republic, citizens can legally use, possess, grow, or
purchase small quantities of marijuana.

In the United States, many otherwise law abiding citizens are locked
in prison cages for possessing, growing or selling various amounts of
marijuana. Many are locked away for several decades or even in some
cases, life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The Czech overall drug arrest rate is 1 per 100,000 population. The
United States' overall drug arrest rate is 585 per 100,000 population.
The Czech robbery rate is 2 per 100,000 population. The U.S. robbery
rate is 145.9 per 100,000 population, according to the FBI.

According to our drug war cheerleaders, tolerant marijuana laws cause
people to use other, much more dangerous drugs like meth and heroin.

Obviously, this doesn't happen in the Czech Republic. Why

Could it be that when people can legally obtain marijuana at an
affordable price, they tend not to use or desire any other
recreational drugs?

Could it be that marijuana legalization actually creates a roadblock
to hard drug use - not a gateway?

Kirk Muse

Mesa, AZ
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