There’s nothing more craven than politicians looking to score drug war points.
Here’s a story caught by NORML and picked up by Wonkette
When someone wrote Iowa Senator Tom Harkin and asked why medical marijuana should be illegal, this was his response:
Thank you for contacting me. I am always glad to hear from you.
I do not believe the answer in solving this country’s problem of drug abuse and the violence associated with drug trafficking is to make drugs legal. I have seen too much of the ill effects of these illegal drugs on our nation’s young people, as well as this country’s law enforcement officers, to believe the solution is to make these drugs more readily available by legalizing them.
Marijuana is often the drug singled out for legalization. However, marijuana is not the recreational drug that many believe it to be. In a study completed by the Drug Abuse Warning Network, the number of marijuana related emergencies has nearly reached the level of cocaine related emergencies. As this statistic indicates, marijuana use often has fatal consequences.
I was deeply troubled when I learned of another recent study which found that nearly one-third of all eighth graders had tried marijuana. As the father of two daughters, it greatly disturbs me that children are exposed to drugs at such a young age. I am concerned that legalization of this drug will only increase the number of children who gain access to its harmful effects.
The victims of the drug war are many – the small child whose parents are so addicted to illegal drugs that they sell everything including perhaps their own children to obtain a fix; the police officer’s family which must now learn to cope with the loss of their loved one as a result of a violent drug bust gone awry. These are the people I think of when I say that drugs pose a significant threat to the security of this nation.
In addition to helping to double federal funds for Iowa’s anti-drug programs, I am an active supporter of the Smoother Sailing Programs in the Des Moines public schools. This program is designed to help children cope with the violence, confusion and trauma associated with the abuse of drugs in our society.
Legalizing drugs is equivalent to declaring surrender in the war on drugs. However we may differ in tactics, I am hopeful that we can work together to fight drugs in our communities and to make Iowa drug free.
Again, thanks for sharing your views with me. Please don’t hesitate to let me know how you feel on any issue that concerns you.
United States Senator [emphasis added]
After the piece hit, the Senator’s staff very politely contacted NORML and said it was a result of an inexperienced staffer and a computer glitch, etc. (apparently sending out the wrong letter for the question). However, NORML reports that the same letter was sent to two different people who asked about medical marijuana.
It’s hard to see how an inexperienced staffer and computer glitch, however, could create the extremely offensive paragraph that I bolded above.
It is offensive because the policies supported by people like Senator Harkin are what cause the death and destruction of the drug war. For him to say that he opposes legalization because of his concern for drug war victims is like saying you oppose peace because of your concern for people killed in war or you oppose hospitals because you’re concerned about people dying from cancer.
Ron Fisher has more.