Pubdate: Thu, 10 Jul 2008
Source: Central Florida Future (U of Central Florida, FL Edu)
Copyright: 2008 Central Florida Future
Author: Brendon Rivard


I have one issue with the article "Legalizing marijuana will ruin a
great culture." That issue is not with the writer's stance on
marijuana itself, as the writer recognizes the legitimacy of
individual liberty and choice. My issue, however, is the writer's
inability to conceive the damage this unwinnable drug war has cost
America. This damage extends beyond physical destruction of property;
beyond breaking the bank of Middle America; beyond the countless
abuses of authority in order to obtain information. In fact, the
everlasting consequence is the social repercussions. While I agree
that the subculture has benefitted many businessmen and businesswomen
ready to capitalize on the marketability of this culture, any true
reformist will tell you that the money has not been worth it.

The money from this subculture is not worth more than 700,000 arrests
in 2006 alone. It is not worth splitting countless families and
perpetuating the overpopulated prison system; it is not worth cuffing
cancer patients to wheelchairs. Any true reformist will tell you
sustaining the appearance of acceptance is not worth disenfranchising
those who actually accept a culture. The appearance of promoting
individual liberty is not the same as actually having individual liberty.

I beg the reader to look past the gimmicks of the marijuana
counterculture and to realize that there are real consequences for
real people. These people are no different from you and I. The 700,000
non-violent offenders do not deserve the fate they received. It is our
responsibility not only to assure that the culture remains intact, but
that the patients who need this medicine and the non-violent offenders
who choose it as an alternative to alcohol are not imprisoned because
of this senseless drug war we continue to wage.

Brendon Rivard

President of NORML
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