The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Letters to the Editor

June 25, 2014

In Your Opinion: Prohibition won't stop drug abuse

Reading the coverage in the Daily Star about the halfhearted legislation to legalize medical marijuana makes one want to ask a question. Why is cannabis illegal? 

Is it because:

It is less harmful than alcohol. It is much less harmful than tobacco. It is virtually impossible to die from an overdose of cannabis, unlike many legal drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter. Keeping it illegal helps channel money into Mexican drug cartels. George Washington grew it on his plantation. The U.S. government subsidized its growth during World War II for its valuable fiber. Its fiber is of such high quality that the Japanese used it for the Emperors’ clothing. 

Thousands of people with chronic medical conditions testify that it improves the quality of their lives. Even though we already lead the world in the number of our citizens incarcerated, we seem to need more fodder for the prison industrial complex. There is no scientific evidence to justify categorizing it as a schedule 1 narcotic. Politicians at the state level forget that the states can be the laboratories of democracy. It is one more way for the politicians to display their abysmal ignorance, foolishness and/or corruption.

Our “War on Drugs,” despite spending hundreds of billions of dollars, has been just as abject a failure as our experiment with the prohibition of alcohol via the 18th Amendment. At least we corrected that error with the 21st Amendment. Let us smarten up and start treating drug abuse as a medical problem. Legalizing cannabis would be a good start.

Rick Weeks

Cooperstown

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