Guy Farmer

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June 3, 2012
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Drug legalization? No thanks

The drug legalizers and the potheads are upset at the Obama administration for cracking down on medical marijuana dispensaries even though the president was an "enthusiastic" (his word) weed-smoker in high school.

Although Nevada voters legalized medical marijuana several years ago, they've never fallen for the spurious arguments put forward by organizations like the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, which want to authorize the recreational use of marijuana as a prelude to the legalization of even more dangerous drugs. Nevadans have twice rejected by 60-40 margins ballot proposals to legalize personal doses of pot.

This is an election year, however, and the MPP is once again pushing its drug-friendly agenda in several states, but not in Nevada. I guess the drug legalizers finally realized that Nevada is not quite as liberal as they had assumed; it was an expensive lesson for them and we profited from their failure. Good for us!

The legalizers offer three bad arguments:

• "The drug war has failed." No it hasn't. Former Federal Drug Czar John Walters, writing recently in the neo-conservative Weekly Standard, noted that illegal drug use by Americans has dropped by almost 40 percent over the past 30 years. Marijuana use is down by almost half since its peak in the late 1970s, and cocaine use is down by 80 percent since its peak in the mid-1980s. "The decades of decline coincide with tougher laws, popular disapproval of drug use and powerful demand reduction measures," Walters wrote.

• "Drug enforcement keeps the price of illegal drugs at hundreds of times the simple cost of producing them." Not true, Walters counters, because in order to destroy the criminal market legalization would have to include a massive price cut, dramatically stimulating use and addiction. "More people using drugs more frequently will result in more addiction," he adds.

• And finally, drug legalizers argue that harsh drug laws have filled our prisons with low-level, non-violent offenders. False, Walters writes, because the portion of the prison population associated with drug offenses has been declining, not growing ... "and diversion programs for substance abusers have grown to such an extent that the criminal justice system is now the largest single reason for Americans to enter drug treatment programs." That's a success story.

Next time you think about using drugs you might recall the tragic stories of celebrities like singers Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, and "Painter of Light" Thomas Kincaide, all three of whom died from drug-related causes. "Comedians" like Bill Maher and Jon Stewart might joke about drug use, but drugs aren't funny; they're deadly. That's why I applaud the Obama administration for cracking down on illegal drug use and for raiding medical marijuana dispensaries that are nothing more than fronts for drug traffickers and Mexican drug cartels.

Marijuana smoke isn't medicine and potheads aren't "patients." Those who wish to treat themselves with THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, should obtain a prescription for Marinol from their family physician. It's as simple as that.

• Guy W. Farmer was a foot soldier in the War on Drugs in six countries during his 28-year diplomatic career.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Jun 3, 2012 05:24AM Published Jun 3, 2012 05:22AM Copyright 2012 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.