Legal marijuana

November 30, 2012 

BINK OWEN, Walla Walla

"One of the saddest days of my life for our state," wrote Debi Luey in her Nov. 9 letter on the legalization of marijuana. And that sentiment shot me back to an era in the U.S. between 1919-33.

Many, including the ladies in the Women's Christian Temperance Union, thought alcohol was bad, bad, bad. True, it could make people do terrible things by either drinking it, or machine-gunning the competition who'd distribute and/or sell it. The criminalization of alcohol in 1919 certainly spawned a crime wave that just didn't seem to have any kind of ending.

So in 1933, Prohibition was repealed and the state took control of the hooch too many people wanted to use and drove the bootleggers to the sidelines or out of business. You could now "bottoms up" without guilt. No doubt a lot of citizens railed against the 21st Amendment as a solution (no pun intended). We learned to live with it.

The "War on Drugs" seems just as endless and the punishment for possession harsh. Isn't it time for a different approach to this problem? I don't know whether state control would be an answer, not any more than the repealers back in 1933 dreamed of a better way to deal with the booze problem. If our present laws and methods have been so effective, why change, and yet change is what's being called for now.

The authorities who tell us current laws and programs work seem to be blowing so much smoke (pun intended).

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