Sunday, March 19, 2006

...And they're still talking.

I've received two letters by email in response to mine, and the DMN printed another today. Here are all three:
Jared Ambra (”Legal drugs? Nonsense,” 3/15/06) bases his conclusion on a false assumption. There is no evidence that legalizing all drugs would lead to a sharp increase in drug use. On the contrary, the only drug that has shown a marked decrease in use during the drug war is tobacco. It has always been legal in this country. The FDA is even precluded from regulating it.

In January, 2004 the United Kingdom decriminalized marijuana use. By September, 2005, regular use was down slightly, mostly among those aged 11 to 15.

The Dutch have the most famously different drug laws from ours. They use marijuana at less than half the U.S. rate. The average age of first use of marijuana in

The Netherlands is 20. In the United States, it is 16. The rate of heroin addiction in The Netherlands is less than one-third the U.S. rate.

While drug prohibition does little to deter drug use, it insures the continuation of a business that funnels $12 billion per week (a UN estimate) to thugs who operate without regulation and use violence and corruption as ordinary business practices.

Suzanne Wills
Drug Policy Forum of Texas

This letter gives some nice ammo to use against folks like Ambra. The second:

Re: “Legal drugs? Nonsense,” by Jared Ambra, March 15 letter.

Not as many people laughing at Nigel Watt's “If drugs were just legal” March 11 letter as Jared Ambra thinks. Among those not laugh are Mayor Rocky Anderson, Congressman John Conyers, Jr., Walter Cronkite, Hugh Downs, Former Police Chiefs Penny Harrington and Joseph McNamara and Norm Stamper, Former Governor Gary Johnson, Former Attorney General Nicholas deB. Katzenbach,, Former Police Commissioner Patrick V. Murphy, and Former Mayor Kurt Schmoke.

Judge Nancy Gertner criticized the "drug war" for spending too much federal funds while depriving Americans of liberty saying, “...I'm joined with a whole litany of judges which I didn't realize before I started this. Really, senior judges..., not so senior judges, active judges, state, federal all across the political spectrum. They are not just Clinton judges. They are not [just] Bush judges. They are Reagan judges. All across the political spectrum, as I said, have called out and talked out against this war on drugs from a perspective of people from the front line. So I'm not alone. Why are we here? What is it that we see?”

Please explain your thoughts and “common sense” to these folks, Jared.

Odis Ellis

A (to me) previously unknown judicial perspective. The third, published in the DMN today:
Re: "Legal drugs? Nonsense," Wednesday Letters to the Editor.

Jared Ambra suggests that legalizing street drugs, which compete directly with legal drugs such as alcohol, tobacco, prescription pills and methadone, would have disastrous effects on society. All of these drugs have a negative impact on society. Alcohol has done tremendous damage. Why pick on some drugs and not all drugs? Because big business can't compete with street drugs, since demand for illegal drugs has never faltered. If you look at the statistics since we declared war on drugs, the people on drugs have been winning. We can stay the course on our illogical war on drugs and keep defense lawyers happy, but if we don't change our approach, we will always get the same, losing results.

Jimmie Blanton, Mesquite

Always nice to know there are rational folks out there.


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