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AMERICA will spend $20 billion this year on its costly war against drugs.
As usual, tens of thousands of people - mostly young black males - will be
imprisoned for peddling unapproved substances. Their human potential will
be damaged as they become convicts with little future.

Millions of Americans wonder whether the current strategy - using
undercover narcs and police raids, jailing hundreds of thousands of
citizens - is the right approach to this societal problem. Californians
voted last fall to rehabilitate drug users instead of locking them in cells.

The real answer must lie in persuading Americans to stop wanting dope,
rather than unleashing storm troops against the sellers meeting their demand.

Last weekend, a longtime Methodist and rural newspaper columnist, Lawrence
J. Smith, urged the West Virginia United Methodist Conference to take a
stand against the military-style war on drugs. We hope his appeal finds
agreement in many churches.

We've often contended that mild drugs like marijuana are no more harmful
than beer and should be as legal as beer.

One thing is clear: The $20 billion War on Drugs is no more successful than
was America's calamitous 1920s Prohibition of alcohol.

Newshawk: Sledhead - Drug Policy Forum of Illinois
Pubdate: Sat, 23 Jun 2001
Source: Charleston Gazette (WV)
Copyright: 2001 Charleston Gazette
Contact: letters@wvgazette.com
Website: wvgazettemail.com | A Pulitzer Prize Winning Newspaper
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