War Against Drugs Just Isn't Working

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Sep 27, 2002.

  1. By O. Ricardo Pimentel, The Arizona Republic
    Source: Arizona Republic

    What do the following items have in common?
    • We have embarked on yet another attempt to eradicate the coca crop in Colombia, a country beset by civil war.

    • Law enforcement drew a direct link recently between terrorism and the drug trade, moving beyond those ill-reasoned TV spots and arresting suspects in the Midwest who were allegedly funneling proceeds to terrorist groups.

    • Proposition 203 on Arizona's ballot in November would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use and set up a system for the state to dispense and regulate the medicinal use of marijuana.

    • Another initiative, Proposition 302, would allow the courts to jail, despite a previous initiative that said we shouldn't, first- and second-time offenders. This if they refuse to complete drug treatment.

    The simplistic view is that drugs, of course, connect all these items. What really connects them, however, is the black market in drugs.

    It's what makes possible the obscene profits that fuel civil war in Colombia and corruption all over the world. These profits are what made drug trafficking alluring for terrorists who otherwise might claim spiritual purity.

    Without criminalization of drugs, there would be no black market, no obsession with putting drug users away, hence no need for the two ballot initiatives, one to decriminalize and the other to re-criminalize.

    What we've done, lo these many years, is to say drugs are the problem, when the real problem is the prohibition that jacks up prices so much that both trafficking and corruption are inescapable.

    We have made criminals of vast numbers of Americans whose biggest victims are themselves. We have made millionaires of the people who supply them the means. Our insane drug policy induces profits that create the rivalry that produces violence in the streets.

    The black market is the father of all these ills and criminalization of drug use is the grandfather. We apparently learned nothing from Al Capone and Prohibition.

    This new plan to eradicate Colombia's coca crop comes on the heels of another that failed. But even if this one succeeds, what's next? Defoliate the world?

    Meanwhile, the leftist guerrillas waging war against South America's oldest democracy reportedly get their financial backing by giving security to the drug lords. The right-wing paramilitary there also reportedly is in the drug trade.

    So we send military aid to Colombia when the best thing we could do for that country is to take away the profits that fuel the war.


    Complete Article: http://www.arizonarepublic.com/opinions/articles/0926pimentel26.html

    Source: Arizona Republic (AZ)
    Author: O. Ricardo Pimentel, The Arizona Republic
    Published: September 25, 2002
    Copyright: 2002 The Arizona Republic
    Contact: opinions@arizonarepublic.com
    Website: http://www.arizonarepublic.com/

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