Vail Daily letter: Legalize the stuff |

Vail Daily letter: Legalize the stuff

Peter Bergh
Vail, CO, Colorado

Governmental efforts to control the illegal use of drugs have been going on since 1914 with the pass”e of the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act, and it was Richard Nixon who is attributed to having coined the phrase “The War on Drugs” in 1971 when he was president.

However, like several other major eng”ements the United States has been embroiled in over the years –including Korea, Vietnam and now ‘ghanistan — this is an unwinnable war and is viewed as such by about 75 percent of the U.S. population.

From 1920 until 1933 the U.S. government in its misguided wisdom made a concerted effort to prohibit the sale of alcoholic bever”es. Didn’t work, for the “Noble Experiment,” as Prohibition was called, proved to be an unmitigated disaster and simply enabled organized crime to expand exponentially into tr’ficking in alcohol, tobacco and ultimately illegal drugs of all kinds. The very painful legacy of this ill-conceived legislation is with us today.

To date, many billions of dollars have been spent and tens of thousands of lives lost in a futile effort to try to prevent those who choose to abuse drugs from doing so. This year alone, it is estimated that the bill for w”ing this war is likely to approach $50 billion and thousands of totally innocent people will die in the crossfire here and abroad.

A far more effective and overall more pr”matic course of action would be to simply decriminalize all drug use (effectively putting the drug cartels out of business), tax the sale of the products (as we now do with alcohol and tobacco), and apply the savings in the war effort and the considerable revenue generated towards educational and rehabilitation programs and substantially reducing state and federal deficits.

In the famous words of Vermont Sen. George Akin speaking about the Vietnam war many years “o: “Let’s just declare victory and get out.”

Peter Bergh


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