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May 2005
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Call off the war on drugs

This column in the Charlotte Observer by Bill Reeside, Jr. is just fun to read. It made me smile, which is important now and then.

Marijuana, tobacco, cocaine, beer, ecstasy, chocolate, Viagra, aspirin, codeine, French fries, Prozac. These are all things that people voluntarily put into their bodies to make themselves feel better. Some of these things can be bought at a convenience store. Some require a doctor’s prescription and a visit to a pharmacist. Some must be bought under cover of darkness, with cash only, and with no certainty of the purity of the product. Some can be procured by children, others after you reach age 18, still others not until 21 and a few only at the risk of government sanction. Why have we stitched together this crazy quilt of dealing with the products that comfort us?

Puts it nicely in perspective. He goes on to show how poorly this system works, and then makes some concrete suggestions, including:

Here’s what we can do on a local and state level:

Vote a resounding “No” on the bond issue that includes more money for jails. In 2004, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department made almost 3,000 arrests for drug offenses and issued more than 600 citations for drug paraphernalia. We don’t need to fill the jails with people harming only themselves.

Charlotte City Council can free the police from enforcing silly “don’t park on your own lawn” laws and “don’t make or possess a crack pipe” ordinances and have them focus on rape, murder and property crime. Don’t tell us we need more police officers while you are wasting the efforts of the current force.

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