Source: Playboy
Section: Forum, Reader's Response
Authors: Joel Johnson, Steve Young, James Gierach, David Correa, Jeremy
Cranfill, Brian Rogers
Editors note: This proves that our friends and supporters do respond to the
DrugSense FOCUS alerts, in this case resulting in being published in a 3.67
million circulation magazine. Our 16 Nov. alert said: 

The December issue of Playboy had not one but three notable mentions in the
section known as the "Playboy Forum." The November Coalition (Nora Calahan)
and Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) were both mentioned in the
opening paragraph of an excellent article "Why talking about drugs IS worse
than murder" By JAMES BOVARD. This article also mentions Will Foster and
makes some dynamite points. 
The article is at:

Author David Correa is featured in a November Coalition page at:


I applaud PLAYBOY for James Bovard's article on drug sentences. "Time Out
for Justice (The Playboy Forum, December) shows clearly the incongruity of
our country's criminal-sentencing guidelines. I question the morality of a
drug policy that categorizes drug users as more dangerous than murderers.
People should have an inalienable right to do whatever we want to
ourselves. Criminalizing drug use is like prohibiting bungee jumping. The
sport can have fatal consequences, but you can't make it a crime to take
the risk. Bovard's account of Will Foster's conviction is all the more
disturbing because Foster harmed nobody by growing marijuana in his home.
He wasn't even taking a life risk (unless, of course, you take into account
his 93-year sentence). I hope similar editorial treatment of the drug war
catastrophe will encourage a more humane approach.

Joel Johnson, San Jose, California

Disturbing as the stores are in Bovard's article, they represent the
reality behind the delusional rhetoric of the drug warriors. As more people
learn what's really happening, our leaders may be forced to abandon these
destructive and counterproductive policies.

Steve Young, Rosalie, Illinois

Eight years ago, when I decided to put a stop to the illicit drug business,
I feared for my safety. Taking the profit out of the drug trade by handing
out free drugs was clearly the answer. As a hopeful candidate for Cook
County state's attorney, I outlined my plan to have the U.S. government by
drugs (for peanuts) from drug-producing countries. As time passed and my
ideas for a dramatic change in drug policy proved to be entirely
unpalatable to the powers that be, I came to realize why my arsenic recipe
for drug dealers never endangered my personal safety. The dealers already
knew what I was still learning - that in America drug tolerance in any form
is intolerable.

I still shake my head in amazement when I recall law-enforcement officers'
burning confiscated drug contraband while government officials would
knowingly, intentionally and willfully maneuver to keep drug prices high.
Perhaps the campaign to put a stop to this nonsense lacks a snappy slogan
that would help the idea catch on. How about "Take a snort out of crime -
end the war on drugs"?

James Gierach, Oak Lawn, Illinois

Thank you for "Time Out for Justice." It's time the public learned about
the draconian sentences being give to nonviolent first-time drug offenders
in the U.S. while true criminals are free to walk the streets.

I am one of your horror stories, a first-time nonviolent offender who is
serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole, convicted of
conspiracy to possess and intent to distribute cocaine. Unlike my
traitorous friend who turned out to be an FBI informant I had nothing to
offer the government, so I was given life. But a life sentence wasn't
enough. The government came with a civil forfeiture against my assets, and
I had to agree to a 50-50 split or I would have lost it all. Before my
arrest I was employed as a commercial pilot by Eastern Airlines and had
never been in trouble with the law. I do not have answers, but I know that
something is very wrong with our justice system when people who could be
productive, tax-paying members of society are in prison for life while
cold-blooded murders are on their way home.

David Correa, Coleman, Florida

It pains me to see that a murder can be out on parole while a man who grows
marijuana for his own medicinal use is in prison for life with no
possibility of parole. Please stop this insanity and, as Bovard says, save
us from our saviors.

Jeremy Cranfill, Salt Lake City, Utah

It seems that the war on drugs has escalated since the passage of the
federal forfeiture laws and other financial incentives designed to induce
local law enforcement to act against drug offenders. While the idea of
legalizing hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin is of debatable merit, we
should decriminalize marijuana. Because drug legalization is unlikely to
happen any time soon, other measures should be taken to lessen the impact
of this immoral war.

Federal forfeiture laws ought to be abolished, as they make it too
appealing for police agencies to abuse the law. We should do away with
mandatory minimums, which make it impossible for a judge to consider
extenuating circumstances or the relative gravity of each crime.

Brian Rogers, Grove City, Ohio

Letters reprinted from The Playboy Forum, April 1998. Copyright  1998
Playboy Enterprises, Inc.