Pubdate: Fri, 27 Aug 1999 Date: 08/27/1999 Source: Wall Street Journal (NY) Author: Dale Gieringer * It is neither demand nor supply, but our bankrupt policy of prohibition that is the historical, eradicable root of today's cocaine problem. At the turn of the century, when cocaine was freely sold over the counter, there was scarcely a trace of today's cocaine violence, corruption and scandal. In my grandparents' time, mild coca beverages were enjoyed and endorsed by the likes of Thomas Edison, President McKinley and the pope. Restore the free market for coca, at least for low-potency products, and the cocaine problem will be resolved more surely, economically and peaceably than by any prohibitionist campaign against either consumers or dealers. Dale Gieringer Berkeley, Calif.