Pubdate: Wed, 13 Jul 2011
Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Copyright: 2011 Metro Times, Inc
Author: John Chase


Re: "Smoking out tourists?" (July 6), it would be good for Dutch 
legislators to think strategically before enacting social legislation 
to coerce a particular behavior.

First, and most important, how will it be enforced? Overenforcing can 
cause more societal damage than the behavior itself, if left alone.

In the event of such blowback, what will be the remedy? Usually the 
remedy is to escalate the enforcement, since legislators are loath to 
admit a mistake, even their predecessors' mistakes. We Americans 
remember the 1920s' lesson of national Prohibition, and can only 
watch as the Dutch begin to move in the wrong direction.

For enlightened modern thinking on "drugs", study the Swiss 
experience since 1994 in stemming a tide of overdose deaths and AIDS 
caused by IV drug users.

It has been so successful that even UNODC is backing off criticism of 
the Swiss. As for cannabis, by U.S. standards, it is already 
decriminalized, since the penalty for trade in soft drugs, up to 100 
grams is a fine equivalent to up to a week's normal income, and no jail time.

John Chase, Palm Harbor
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