Pubdate: Tue, 03 Mar 2009
Source: Naples Daily News (FL)
Copyright: 2009 Naples Daily News
Author: John Chase


Editor, Daily News:

Ben Bova's ideas on drugs are on the right track, except for the word 

Decriminalization (decrim) is usually defined as letting users use so 
we can focus police resources on kingpins. The law of supply and 
demand would argue that decrim, thus defined, would drive up drug 
prices, even if demand stayed flat, which it probably wouldn't. This 
added profit would draw in more greedy, violent men, disrespectful of the law.

The 1920s was, in effect, a time of decrimmed alcohol, although we 
didn't call it that. We let drinkers drink, while sending bootleggers 
to prison. Consider Big Bill Thompson and Al Capone.

When we ended national Prohibition in 1933, we didn't decriminalize 
or legalize. We got the feds out and let each state decide. If that 
isn't politically possible in today's big-government America, the 
feds should focus on problem users, not on casual users. It would 
save taxpayers a bundle by cutting the costs to investigate, 
prosecute and incarcerate drug offenders.

Drug taxes would help too. It worked that way for alcohol after 1933.

John Chase

Palm Harbor
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