Pubdate: Sat, 11 September 1999
Source: Capital Times, The  (WI)
Copyright: 1999 The Capital Times
Author: Jon Hain


The article about local marijuana law enforcement (Managing Marijuana,
September 4, 1999) brings up some important questions about both Diane Nicks
and drug policy.

The most obvious question raised was whether Nicks is being honest when she
says that it has been her goal since becoming Dane County District Attorney
to reduce the number of prosecutions for marijauna cases.

If it has been her goal all this time, why was she so hesitent to talk about
it in last year's election and why has she made no progress towards this
goal during her three years in office?

I can only conclude that she is either very bad at accomplishing her goals
or that she is not being very honest.

I am also concerned that she believes that people "who like the feeling of
getting high or getting drunk, have a lot of problems in life." I think it
might surprise her to know how many of those "problem" citizens cast their
votes for her. I certainly hope they will choose to vote in the future for
someone who shows them a bit more respect.

For thousands of years, people have chosen to get drunk and high. If Diane
Nicks feels that getting drunk or high is a bad thing to do, I fully support
her choice to not imbibe.

I do not understand though, why she thinks she has the right to impose these
views on others, either through hassles and fines, or through the loss of
their liberty.

Her fears about sending the wrong message to young people (including her
son) by reducing the ticket for marijuana possession are seriously
misguided.  As long as adults continue to claim that marijuana is a
dangerous drug, youths will not take them seriously.

Kids know better. Marijuana is a non-addictive drug that has caused zero
documented fatalities after thousands of years of use. The main danger is
that it is currently illegal and thus, those who choose to use it are forced
onto the black market.  If we truly want to reduce the dangers associated
with marijuana, we need to legalize it and make it available to adults.

Current alcohol policy could serve as a good model for this transition.

Despite Nicks' poor track record on this issue (not to mention her "red
face"), this article has given me reason to hope for a more just approach
towards drug policy.

Even though the current policy changes under consideration do not go far
enough, they are a step in the right direction and I am glad Nicks is
finally taking the first steps towards reducing the harm being done to our
society by the war on drugs.

Jon Hain, Madison

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