|ZENZIBAR Alternative Culture on the Web.|
Editorial by Royce Carlson
January 16, 2000
The Battle for Drug Legalization
Many people are beginning to suspect the U.S. government’s war on drugs may not be the best way to deal with drugs. Billions of dollars are spent each year trying to stop the production of illegal drugs in foreign countries, on anti-drug advertising campaigns, and on law enforcement yet there are indications that America may be losing the war on drugs.
As one caller on an NPR radio program said last week, "If we can’t even keep drugs out of our prisons, how can we expect to keep them out of our country?" The Governor of New Mexico has taken a stand for limited legalization of some drugs and several states have had medical marijuana propositions on the ballots and they have passed, much to the anger and confusion of elected officials. I know that, a few years ago in Arizona, we had one of these propositions pass and the governor said that the people must not have understood the proposition or they wouldn’t have voted for it. In spite of constant effort in trying to stop the Colombian drug trade, coca production was up 140% from 1998 to 1999 in that country.
The government is getting desperate. They are trying to control the media, they are trying to pass laws that will restrict the Internet on drug related issues, and they are even more resistant to even talking about legalization options.
Most of the organized effort to legalize drugs comes from marijuana users and their organizations. Although some of the proposals out there are for legalization of all illegal drugs, the ones most likely to be considered regard marijuana. Why is marijuana illegal?
Hundreds of thousands of people die from alcohol-related illnesses and accidents. It was recently exposed that thousands of people die from aspirin! Yet, neither of these is illegal for adults. Tobacco is still legal and it causes thousands of deaths each year. Marijuana is a very mild drug, it doesn’t have near the dangerous medical side effects as alcohol and tobacco and yet it is still illegal. Maybe it is time to take a dispassionate look at whether the prohibition of marijuana should be stopped.