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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 6, 2009 at 5:00 PM

War on drugs

Prohibition not effective

Silly me, but reading “Kerlikowske describes how he’d approach drub-czar job” [NW Thursday, April 2], I couldn’t recall the word “czar” in our Constitution. I thought that was a word for an autocratic Russian ruler. Have we strayed that far from our founding fathers’ idea of limited government?

Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske mouthed the tired cliches of drug prohibition, a complete failure since it began in 1913. He’s going to cut demand, reduce supply, etc. This hasn’t worked for 96 years, so one wonders why he thinks it’s going to work now.

Thomas Jefferson and the other geniuses who invented this country never suggested that any drugs should be illegal. To the contrary, they said that everyone should have the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” unless they were doing something “injurious to others.” Then, and only then, did the government have the right to intervene.

So we’ve gone from geniuses to bureaucrats masquerading as czars. Shame on us.

— Brian Templeton, Des Moines

Criminalizing marijuana sends dangerous message

A sane argument to perpetuate prohibiting, persecuting and exterminating cannabis (marijuana) and hemp doesn’t exist. Another reason to end cannabis prohibition that doesn’t get mentioned [“Let’s begin the discussion about legalizing drugs,” seattletimes.com, Opinion, April 1] is because it will lower deadly hard-drug-addiction rates.

DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) will have to stop brainwashing youth into believing lies, half-truths and propaganda concerning cannabis, which creates grave future problems.

How many citizens try cannabis and realize it’s not nearly as harmful as taught in DARE-type government environments? Then they think other substances must not be so bad either, only to become addicted to deadly drugs. The old lessons make cannabis out to be among the worst substances in the world, even though it’s less addictive than coffee and has never killed a single person.

The federal government even classifies cannabis as a Schedule I substance along with heroin, while methamphetamine and cocaine are only Schedule II substances. For the health and welfare of America’s children and adults, that dangerous and irresponsible message absolutely must change.

Further, regulated cannabis sales would make it so citizens who purchase it would not come into contact with people who often also sell hard drugs, which would lower hard-drug-addiction rates.

— Stan White, Dillon, Colo.

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