Pubdate: Wed, 16 Feb 2011
Source: Dispatch, The (NC)
Copyright: 2011, The Lexington Dispatch
Author: Redford Givens


Editor: Letter writer Jackie Heninger piously says about marijuana 
prisoners, "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time." However, 
like all other drug crusaders Ms. Heninger neglects to supply any 
reasons why marijuana should be illegal in the first place. She 
provides no justification for the 20-year to life sentences given to 
marijuana growers and sellers.

Heninger's health accusations are entirely false because marijuana 
use does not cause brain damage or injure the body in any way. 
Marijuana does not cause lung cancer because to date the Centers for 
Disease Control have yet to trace the first case of cancer of any 
kind to marijuana use. (See: "Large Study Finds No Link between 
Marijuana and Lung Cancer,", 
and "Study Finds No Cancer-Marijuana Connection," 

As for conditions when heroin and cocaine were legal, Heninger 
neglects to mention that there were no outlaw drug cartels, no 
violent drug gangs and so such thing as "drug crime" in any form. All 
of the crime, disease and death surrounding illegal drugs began after 
they were prohibited, not before. The only reason violent drug 
cartels are running wild in Mexico is because the drug war guarantees 
huge profits. Without the drug prohibition subsidy that makes drug 
dealing the most profitable business on Earth, the drug cartels would 
vanish very quickly.

When addicts could buy all of the heroin, morphine, cocaine and 
anything else they wanted cheaply and legally, there was no such 
thing as a societal "drug problem." When addicts could get their 
drugs from the corner pharmacy they held regular jobs, raised decent 
families and were indistinguishable from teetotalers. Now we have 
hundreds of thousands of shattered families and the drug warriors 
have filled our prisons with nonviolent drug users without ever 
achieving a single declared goal. (See The Consumers Union Report on 
Licit and Illicit Drugs, )

The prohibitionists must accept responsibility for the disaster they 
have created with 100 years of hysterical drug laws. And yet Heninger 
is not satisfied. Heninger wants even more people in prison even 
though her drug crusade is costing California (and some other states) 
more for incarceration than for higher education.

Before recommending drug prohibition as a path to higher moral 
standards, Heninger should consider the thievery, corruption, 
violence and murder caused by a lunatic drug crusade. Those of us 
with working memories remember that the alcohol prohibitionists made 
the same empty moral promises while causing a disaster in the 1920s and '30s.

It is worth remembering that Eliot Ness never put the bootleggers out 
of business. Repeal and a regulated market for alcohol did that in 
short order. Since 1933, we have not had a bombing or a shootout over 
a beer route.

Redford Givens, Webmaster

Schaffer Library of Drug Policy

San Francisco
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