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Opinion Letters Crime would disappear with legalization

David Snell’s letter of 1-10-13 ( National forests site of illegal actvity) proves that people can fail to see the forest for the trees. He laments the fact that the prohibition of marijuana has caused illegal growing in national forests, some by illegal aliens, but seems to be unable to make the connection: When alcohol was prohibited by law, illegal distilleries and smuggling were rampant, but that virtually disappeared when prohibition was lifted. If marijuana was available legally and growing was regulated and taxed, our forests would once again cease to be a viable alternative for criminal cartels.

In Holland, where cannabis is legally available to adults, growing is done indoors or on private land. In Colorado, where adults may legally possess up to an ounce of the herb, growing is strictly regulated by the state and it is not necessary any longer to hide the operations. Prohibition is the problem, not pot smokers. In a regulated marketplace, products are available at prices that would be too low to make a profit for the cartels; it costs a lot to set up and maintain a large outdoor grow in the forests and they would be out of business if common sense would prevail. Law enforcement will never win this battle, as too many Americans (some 25 million by all estimates) desire the product and where there is a market there will always be a supplier.

Also, Snell seems to think that the Second Amendment was formulated to allow for citizens to take up arms and become vigilantes whenever they feel that the government is not doing a good job at some particular issue, which is nonsense. The Second Amendment was included to protect us from the government should they become the enemy of the people and need to be removed by a majority, who would necessarily have to be armed.

Snell should realize that liquor store owners and distilleries are not hidden because they are not prohibited, but regulated. Tobacco is available to adults and grown legally because it is regulated and not prohibited. Any time a large number of people want a product they can either get it cheaply and legally, or they can get it from the black market, where no taxes are paid and no ID's are checked. Prohibition is doomed to fail and always has, through all of human history. Recall what Abraham Lincoln said about prohibition: “Prohibition ... goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control mans’ appetite through legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not even crimes ... A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our Government was founded.”

Plants, especially one's that have never caused a death in all of human history, are not physically addictive and that have great potential as medicine, are not the enemy. Prohibition laws and the predictable results of them should be repugnant to any reasonable and intelligent person. Marijuana is illegal only because of political chicanery in the 1930s, a fact no drug warrior can hide from. If Snell and others want to protect our forests and change society for the better, they should demand an end to insane and harmful policies, such as those that make gardening and enjoyment of God's creations a crime.

Richard Moore — Sylva, N.C.


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