Pubdate: Fri, 03 Apr 1998 
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA) 


Dear Editor,

Something is indeed wrong as you point out in your editorial "Crime Control"
but there is little police can do to change the law of supply and demand.
Eighty-four years since passage of the Harrison Act and our society is still
investing in a failed policy without any inclination toward critical
thinking, no wonder. At a meeting of the Virginia Crime Commission several
years ago those in attendance were told that as many as one hundred officers
were working drugs in Richmond.  So many police are required to catch those
involved in consensual commerce of illegal substances that the department
can hardly keep up with car theft fraud and other cheating. The drug
business thrives because young entrepreneurs have opportunities for rapid
advancement, profits are high and the demand brisk.

This business is completely unregulated.  No business license must be
purchased.  No taxes paid on profit.  No responsibility to customers or
community must be met. No age restrictions must be observed.

Legitimate business people struggling with all those tax forms will tell you
what a temptation that kind of easy money must be. Please don't blame the
police.  Each time they make a major bust they clear the decks for a new
more vicious crowd of drug dealers.

Stupid laws, closed minds and our failure to be responsible for ourselves
are the root problems. Freedom is the flip side of responsibility.  If you
can't stand the idea of someone peacefully enjoying a bit of marijuana
somewhere then it is going to be difficult for you to find a solution to the
drug war. Those ignoring the lessons of history will repeat them.  Years ago
I wrote on this page about the death penalty imposed for tobacco possession
in 16th century Europe. Here is another example of how drug prohibition
never did work--ever in human history: the Pharos of ancient Egypt
prohibited commoners from enjoying coffee.  Apparently they did this while
using exotic drugs from all over the world themselves.  It was recently
discovered that their mummified remains contained cocaine.

Before, we had no idea that Egyptians had any trade with the new world!

Anyway, they were snorting this expensive foreign drug while not allowing
simple folk a cup of Joe.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.


Lennice Werth, Virginians Against Drug Violence

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Checked-by: Melodi Cornett