The True Villain in Our Drug War is Prohibition 

The True Villain in Our Drug War is Prohibition 
Posted by FoM on February 08, 2002 at 09:07:51 PT
By Buford C. Terrell
Source: Houston Chronicle
The Office for National Drug Control Policy spent $3.2 million for Super Bowl ads claiming that people who buy drugs are supporting terrorists. But that's not the real story. The real story is that the profits in the drug trade garnered by gangsters and terrorists is a product, not of the drugs, but of the laws prohibiting the drugs. Almost nine out of 10 of us use the addicting, mind-altering drug caffeine, but coffee sales don't fund terrorists. A quarter of all adults are addicted to nicotine, but cigarette sales don't fund terrorists. 
Two-thirds of the country uses the psychoactive drug alcohol, but since 1933, alcohol sales haven't supported terrorists or criminals. Why? Beer sells for a few dollars a six-pack and vodka can be bought for less than $10 a liter. Coffee and tea sell for pennies an ounce, and even cigarettes with their taxes are only about $3 an ounce. There's no excess profit for terrorists in those prices. But marijuana goes for $100 an ounce and cocaine for $10,000 a kilogram. Heroin weighs in at well over $100,000 a kilogram. People will kill and risk prison for those profits, and there's plenty of money to support terrorists and gangsters and buy crooked cops to protect the deals. The villain is prohibition. End the black market by selling legal marijuana for the price of cigarettes and heroin for the price of aspirin (the price at which it is sold when legal). Drug dealers and terrorists will go away because there will be no money for them. The experience with alcohol prohibition showed that when prohibition ended, gangsters got out of the business. What is more, legal beer distributors do not settle their business disputes with machine guns; they use the courts. Ending the failed prohibition against marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, heroin and select other drugs -- regulating their sale and use the way we do that of caffeine, alcohol and nicotine -- would remove the dangerous drug dealers, the vicious smugglers, the crooked cops and, yes, the al-Qaida terrorists from our society just like ending alcohol prohibition ended the reigns of Al Capone and Myer Lansky. And the terrorists? They would continue to get their money from religious contributions, from the sale of honey (a major source of Osama bin Ladin's income) and from oil. They use drug money because prohibition makes it easy for them, but it is not a major source of their income. Ending drug prohibition would not end the problems created by those few drug users who cannot control their use; but neither has drug prohibition ended them. We probably have more heroin addicts now than we did in 1914 when we first prohibited it. The problem is that now we have both drug problems and drug prohibition problems: large sums of money going to gangsters and terrorists, corrupt public officials, drive-by shooting and crack houses, HIV and hepatitis C infections from the inability to buy syringes and more than 700,000 arrests last year for the mere possession of marijuana. We have not been able to stop the problems caused by the misuse of drugs, but we do not have to compound those problems with the miseries caused by foolish and ineffective laws of prohibition. Our country is again facing budgetary deficits, a large part of which are caused by the $1 billion a month that the war against terrorism is costing. At the same time, the federal government is spending $20 billion a year on the war on drugs, an amount that would more than make up for the cost of the war on terrorism. About $25,000 a year would be saved for each drug user not sent to prison; 700,000 young marijuana users would not be branded as criminals for the rest of their lives, and drug misuse could be attacked as the medical problem it is instead of being treated as a crime. Fight terrorism; stamp out prohibition. Terrell is a professor at South Texas College of Law who teaches controlled-substances law.Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)Author: Buford C. TerrellPublished: February 7, 2002Copyright: 2002 Houston ChronicleContact: viewpoints chron.comWebsite: Articles:Terror Tactic - Reason Magazine Dope, Fund Terror Low in the War on Drugs - A. Huffington Do You Think They Call It Propaganda?
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Comment #6 posted by RavingDave on February 11, 2002 at 23:39:19 PT
Critic Raves
I am simply in awe. What a great article. Definitely in my top 10 as far as to-the-point eloquence.AOCP - the only other immediate income opportunity for terrorists which comes to mind is arms trafficking. Of course, one might think they'd get farther with hoarding. In any case, they still have oil, but that's another issue over which we have control ultimately. Of course, I think we'll have more luck persuading the right to give up the drug war than their unhealthy addiction to Arab crude.Lehder - I'm with you. Enron may turn out to be the debacle of the century. There are sleazy backroom boys up to their armpits in filthy money, from here to the capitol. They've almost dropped all pretense, haven't they?Sometimes I'm ashamed to be an American.
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Comment #5 posted by Lehder on February 08, 2002 at 15:41:33 PT
drug war forever
The experience with alcohol prohibition showed that when prohibition ended, gangsters got out of the business.Out of the booze business, but not out of business. The enormous wealth of the mobs and the politicians and businesses they had corrupted were parasites on society for another sixty years. Recall John Gotti losing $50,000 in personal sports bets each month and torturing to death the hapless driver who ran over his son - who had darted into the street on a bicycle from between parked cars. And we all paid extra high prices for trash collection and endless other services run by corrupt unions.But the drug war has corrupted not just businesses and politicians but entire governments and countries. The lords of the drug trade are billionaires, not millionaires, and they preside not over mobs but armies. If drugs were legalized today, the influence of the violent sleaze that has been empowered by our government's drug war would continue to plague us for decades to come. And the longer we allow the government to continue bleeding Americans with its crimes, the longer all of us will pay. If the drug war isn't enough to make you mad, then watch the Enron hearings. Maybe, at the very most, these guys will eventually spend a year or so in a federal country club, cell phones in their pockets, secretaries on call - while your kid with the bag of weed is getting raped in the county jail. These captians of corruption ought to be locked up for decades with their drug-war cousins and all of them put to hard labor. They owe more than they can ever repay.
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Comment #4 posted by aocp on February 08, 2002 at 14:26:24 PT
Re: Patrick
"Drug dealers and terrorists will go away because there will be no money for them."I find that hard to swallow. They will still be around. They just won't be making any money from drugs anymore.That reminds me of one of the most famous boogiemen of the antis. "Why legalize drugs because the evlidoers will just find something else to make money from."As if this were a reason whatsoever to keep prohibition around. First of all, if you know something is profiting a criminal, shouldn't you remove that profit motivation, especially because they can never offer any examples of what else the criminals might do. My girlfriend is on the same wavelength that i am on cannabis and when i asked her for some examples of other profitable criminal enterprises outside of drugs when she said they'd just find something else to do, she got mad and ended the discussion. I don't claim to know much about other drugs and their inherent needs regarding regulation outside of cannabis, but i know that if one cannot offer up any examples, they haven't thought the issue through very thoroughly or are avoiding it.So, if anybody ever says that, just ask them for any examples of profits they could make with regulated illicits. It's not necessary to know how regulation would work for [fill in the drug]. That's not even the issue. The single issue is what other things could they generate profit from. C'mon!! Brainstorm with me!! It'll be a short discussion, as i found out. :)
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Comment #3 posted by JR Bob Dobbs on February 08, 2002 at 10:18:15 PT
Dumb laws include more than just pot prohibition
>>A quarter of all adults are addicted to nicotine, but cigarette sales don't fund terrorists.  Don't count on it - listen to the Pot-TV news story below before you decide!
Terrorists Dealt Dangerous, Addicting Drugs
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on February 08, 2002 at 09:52:42 PT
one helping topple the evil wall.Prohibition is a product of evil minds and evil sinners doing the work of the evil master.
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Comment #1 posted by Patrick on February 08, 2002 at 09:42:53 PT
Put that in your glass and drink it....
Grandpa and Grandma and Bill O'Reilly!One thing in this article about legalization that I do not agree with is…"Drug dealers and terrorists will go away because there will be no money for them."I find that hard to swallow. They will still be around. They just won't be making any money from drugs anymore.Anyway, I know some really cool folks who are grandpa's and grandma's. The one or ones who choose this moniker here on are not worthy of such a title. Grandpa and Grandma represent love, wisdom and understanding. The ones posting here express intolerance, hatred, and ignorance. Their monikers should be official changed to Oldfart and Naggingspinster.
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