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DRUG LAWS DRIVE THE BLACK MARKET

Discussion in 'Marijuana News from The USA' started by roach, Feb 23, 2001.

  1. US NY: PUB LTE: Tough Drug Laws Help Drive The Black Market
    URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n306/a01.htm
    Newshawk: DrugSense http://www.drugsense.org/
    Pubdate: Tue, 20 Feb 2001
    Source: Albany Times Union (NY)
    Copyright: 2001 Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation,
    Albany,
    Contact: tuletters@timesunion.com
    Address: News Plaza, Box 15000, Albany, NY 12212
    Website: http://www.timesunion.com/
    Author: Robert Sharpe


    TOUGH DRUG LAWS HELP DRIVE THE BLACK MARKET

    It's only natural that prosecutors across New York are defending the Rockefeller drug laws. Like drug dealers, prosecutors are dependent on tough laws that give rise to a thriving black market. Drug policy reform threatens to derail the entire drug war gravy train. There are cost-effective alternatives to the zero tolerance approach. The Netherlands has successfully reduced overall drug use by replacing marijuana prohibition with regulation. Separating the hard and soft drug markets and establishing controls for age has proven more effective than the zero tolerance policies of the United States. The Netherlands has significantly lower rates of drug use than the United States, despite dramatically lower per capita spending on the drug problem. As the most popular illicit drug in America, marijuana provides the black market contacts that introduce users to drugs like heroin. Current drug policy is effectively a gateway policy. Given that marijuana is acknowledged by many public health experts to be less harmful than alcohol, it makes no sense to perpetuate flawed policies that finance organized crime and facilitate hard drug use. Sensible regulation is desperately needed to undermine the youth-oriented black market. Granted, alternatives to the never-ending drug war would put thousands of criminal justice professionals out of business. Given the counterproductive nature of the drug war, that might not be a bad thing.

    ROBERT SHARPE, M.P.A.

    Program Officer The Lindesmith Center Drug Policy Foundation Washington, D.C.
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