It is time to end the war

Ted Hamilton

There is no way of knowing how many people this war has killed.

Already we have spent more than $7.5 billion in fighting a needless battle.

It has not been a war overseas against a ruthless dictator, and it has not given freedom to anyone, which is what America’s excuses usually are.

The war is fought against freedom and the ability of people to choose right from wrong.

It is the war on drugs.

California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano is trying to tax marijuana to solve California’s financial crisis. At face value, this seems like a good idea, but in actuality, it

presents several problems.

In likeliness, it would seem a drug taxation law would require people to purchase the product from pharmacies and licensed vendors. This might lessen the black market product, but it will not make it stop altogether.

Drugs, as they exist in the black market, help create the violence and death associated with them. Of course, some people do overdose on things such as cocaine and heroin, but compared with how many people have died violently as a result of the drug war, it is a minuscule number.

Alcohol prohibition helped the crime world by creating a market for booze that could fund organizations with millions of dollars.

Another mistake of Ammiano’s is his claim that taxing pot would somehow keep it away from teens. Alcohol is legal if you are 21 or older, but younger people get their hands on it all the time. You don’t have to look further than the Kent State police blotter to see how many students have been busted for

underage drinking.

The real irony is that California was the first state to outlaw marijuana, but when the state is in dire straits, it sees pot as a savior – not “locoweed”.

The best thing is a complete stop of the war on drugs and to start repealing the laws that make drugs illegal. It has been proven there is no such thing as “reefer madness.” If you smoke pot, you are not likely to murder your family with an ax.

The drug most people would think of as a synonym to insanity, LSD, has never been found to cause an overdose.

It is also unlikely you are going to put a gun in your mouth and pull the trigger, no matter what the public service announcements

tell you.

Since 1992, there has been an upward trend in polls showing the American people are becoming more supportive of legalization, as more people become receptive with others’ ability – and right – to do what they want with their body.

It is not just potheads and hippies who want drugs legalized. I am not a drug user myself – as surprising as that may be – but I believe people should be allowed to smoke pot in the privacy of their own homes.

Ted Hamilton is a senior magazine journalist major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].