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Letters to the Editors

Connecting marijuana to terror is bad policy


© St. Petersburg Times
published November 24, 2002

Re: A dilemma of keeping out the right bad guys, 11/19 Jan Glidewell column:

Editor: Jan Glidewell wonders "how much more effective our limited law enforcement resources would be if less time was spent chasing bales of marijuana." It's not just a question of resources. International terrorists have unfortunately caught on to something Al Capone learned in the 1920s during alcohol prohibition. There are enormous profits to be made on the black market.

While the military is defending the country, drug czar John Walters is seeking to cash in on America's tragedy. The drug czar's latest antidrug campaign seeks to link the war on drugs to the war on terrorism. With drug war budgets at risk during a time of shifting national priorities, drug war bureaucrats are cynically using drug prohibition's collateral damage to justify more of the same.

The illicit drug of choice in America is domestically grown marijuana, not Afghan heroin or Colombian cocaine. The opportunistic drug-terror rhetoric coming out of Washington may lead Americans to mistakenly conclude that marijuana smokers are somehow responsible for Sept. 11. That's likely no accident.

Taxing and regulating marijuana would render the drug war obsolete. As long as marijuana remains illegal and distributed by organized crime, consumers will continue to come into contact with drugs like cocaine and heroin. Naturally the government bureaucrats whose jobs depend on a never-ending drug war prefer to blame the plant itself for the alleged "gateway" to hard drugs.
-- Robert Sharpe, Program Officer, Drug Policy Alliance Washington, D.C

County could use a nice big beach

Re: Let's focus on beach, not tennis stadium, Nov. 17 letter

Editor: It would be a great asset to the Pasco area to have a beautiful big beach where we could swim in the Gulf of Mexico.
-- Janet L. McGarr, Hudson

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