Printed in The Columbian April 6th:
I enjoy a good joke as well as the next guy, but when my local newspaper furthers a pernicious fallacy, I’m not laughing. Mike Lester’s editorial cartoon published May 28 asks what fuels Mexican dope wars. Lester’s answer is “American dopes.”
Wrong, Lester. Our “War on Drugs” fuels the murder and mayhem. Cartels smuggle drugs to tax-free distribution networks we call “gangs.” More than 2,600 people died last year in Juarez, Mexico, over illegal profits, not drugs.
When the Harrison Act passed in 1914, estimates identified drug abuse within 1.3 percent of the American population. When President Nixon declared war on drugs in 1970, it was estimated that 1.3 percent of the American population abused drugs. As I type this in 2010, experts estimate 1.3 percent of our population has a drug problem.
How’s that war on drugs working? Black marketers cheer, “Quite nicely, thank you.”
The reasonable answer is to legalize all drugs, tax and regulate them, and treat drug abuse as a health problem like Type 2 diabetes or alcoholism.
Maybe I’m mistaken and that’s a crack pipe in the cartoon smoker’s hand. After all, the majority of psychoactive cannabis used in the states is grown right here at home.
Let’s add it to our GDP.