Pubdate: Sat, 26 Nov 2011 Source: Wall Street Journal (US) Copyright: 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Contact: http://www.wsj.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/487 Author: Charlotte Roe Referenced: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v11/n667/a03.html DEAL A BLOW TO THE DRUG WAR BY LEGALIZING MARIJUANA The Nov. 21 Americas column by Mary Anastasia O'Grady, "A Path to Victory in the Drug War," is a shot of light in an otherwise gloomy overlay of news and foretold events. Ms. O'Grady reports on the efforts by former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso to refocus the drug war away from eradication, which he once supported, to a smart campaign that would decriminalize marijuana and undermine a key entry point for criminal drug trafficking. The experience of Colombia, where I worked as a foreign service officer in the early 1990s, is telling. Together, Colombia and the U.S. won many battles, but ultimately succeeded only in pushing drug-trafficking into Mexico and Central America. Portugal, which decriminalized marijuana while keeping up the legal and police pressure against drug commerce, has shown a more effective way to fight organized crime that can free up resources for treatment and education. If the U.S. really wants to end the drug scourge, we have to face this issue squarely, without taboos and without the absurd ideological divisions now crippling Washington. Why not tax marijuana like cigarettes? Why not learn from countries that have reduced public expenditures for incarcerations that do nothing but increase the criminal labor pool? Kudos to Fernando Cardoso for taking up this cause. Charlotte Roe Longmont, Colo. - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.