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LETTERS: Legalization no guarantee
Marijuana for non-medical use is illegal everywhere in the U.S.
It will be interesting to watch how U.S. lawmakers and law enforcement deal in the longer term with the conflict between U.S. law and limited state legislation allowing personal use and commercial outlets.
This is especially a matter of concern near border crossings into Canada.
We have learned from the president of the Canadian Medical Association that unproven claims of medical value for marijuana are a concern where used as a ploy to justify non-medical use. “Medical marijuana if necessary, but not necessarily medical marijuana” applies perhaps, but care is needed to avoid misleading legalization advocacy.
Will the relaxation of state laws allowing marijuana possession in certain circumstances contrary to U.S. federal laws and commercialization lead to new and increased border crimes and trafficking? This has been the experience in the Netherlands where the marijuana drug trafficking crimes moved out of the Amsterdam Red Light District marijuana cafés legalized in 1976 to other communities and to the borders. Today, Dutch border concerns and social problems related to drug abuse are cited as reasons to reconsider.
We should be cautious about advocates who claim street drug prices and trafficking will or has collapsed in Washington state, or if legalization occurs simply because they say so. Illegal drugs carry none of the costs of commercial sourcing, from fire safety to quality control, to fair wages and business licenses, to buying electricity, packaging and, most costly for any commercial enterprise consumable from tooth paste to beer, marketing. Trafficking may flourish under legalization.
Before the dreaded words “prohibition” and “alcohol” are uttered, let us remember the violence and crimes of Al Capone were supplied by legal, regulated, taxed commercial beer and liquor smuggled into the U.S., not bath-tub gin. “Legalize, regulate, tax” is a slogan too, not policy or a basis for good public policy.
Brian Marlatt, White Rock