Legalize, regulate and tax ‘recreational’ drugs

To the editor:

As I read the news via your paper this morning, I though about the money wasting, loss of potential income production and our body of government deceit. Of course this has been going on probably as long as man has been on earth and have developed some sort of communal living and government. My thoughts went to “what a waste of money – my tax dollars are used to fight the undefeatable urges of mankind.” It truly is unfortunate that some people in our various governments feel the need to micromanage our money. Generally it is for their benefit, but I think we should tone down the “nanny government” management of our money and life.

Example of “nanny government” causing problems: prohibition (yes I know most people never heard much of this) – Our country spent who knows how many millions dollars to try to make everyone “alcohol free.” Instead it birthed and fostered a criminal group that is still with us. It cost us untold amounts of dollars of tax money. It corrupted government. It is unknown how many deaths and injuries the illegally produced alcohol beverages caused due to contamination as well as gun wars, etc. Probably the consumption of alcohol was not lowered much if any. When I was growing up, there were a lot of legal wineries especially in areas with various ethnic populations. In the area where I grew up there were a lot of first and second generation Italians (I went to school with the third generation). Many of them made their own wine. I do not remember ever seeing drunk Italians.

Example of how government stayed out of the fray is the way we have treated the tobacco business. The government placed certain restrictions on where tobacco could not be smoked. Plus, the government put a high tax on tobacco. The result was that those who choose to smoke pay a stiff tax that goes to help those who suffered from the use of tobacco. The results have been much better for the general population. There has been no territory wars, no raids and a relatively low cost of enforcement. Best of all, no or little non-tobacco tax money went into tobacco regulation.

Today the use of various drugs has cost us a lot of money even though most of us do not use those drugs. Personally, I do not see the sense of using recreational drugs. Yet, I also do not see the sense of using tobacco or drinking alcohol. It would make more sense to legalize those recreational drugs, put a hefty tax on them, and some restriction as to where they could be used such as was done in the case of tobacco.

Back in the days of smoking anywhere, it was difficult for an asthamatic to enter some public buildings. Now that is no longer a problem plus those who crave nicotine can have their needs met. Why can we not treat other drugs the same as we have treated nicotine and alcohol? We will suffer no more than now and maybe will suffer less as happened when alcohol prohibition ceased and when tobacco was restricted, but not outlawed as some would have advised.

As with alcohol and tobacco, the so-called recreational drugs would be taxed to help those who use the drugs as well as the general population. Legalization would reduce the “drug war” we now hear about. The general population would benefit from the tax money derived from the recreational drugs.

John E. Brockett