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GOP opposes personal liberty

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, April 14, 2005

Gov. Frank Murkowski's current push to recriminalize marijuana is the issue most representative of my utter disillusionment with the Republican Party.

I used to vote Republican because they were the party that stood for personal liberty, personal responsibility, free enterprise, and keeping the federal government in check. Yet these days, Republicans, both on a state and federal level, currently feel it is their role to maintain Draconian laws that restrict personal liberty, for a stated outcome that is dubious at best.

Do tough drug laws keep people from smoking marijuana? Obviously not, given the thousands and thousands of individuals continually incarcerated for possession and use. Marijuana smoking may be a bad habit, but it has persisted through the centuries for the exact same reason as all other bad habits. You cannot stop people from doing something they really want to do. I discovered this while living in Adelaide, Australia.

Adelaide has what are likely the most liberal marijuana laws of anywhere in the English-speaking world; marijuana possession here attracts the same penalties as a parking ticket. Do lots of people in Adelaide smoke pot? Yes, it's part of the culture here. Many of my best friends are regular smokers, yet oddly, they manage to keep their rent paid, work regular jobs, and get good grades at university. They do not mug tourists or steal from their families for drug money. They are kind-hearted and good-humored companions. So far as I have been able to determine, the streets of Adelaide are not awash in heroin and cocaine, nor do the world's pot barons stalk the sidewalks at night.

Yet, according to the "White House experts" recently employed by Murkowski, this scenario is simply not possible. This denial of reality boggles the mind. The problem is not the flowers of Cannabis indica, but rather the mountains of propaganda that surround the debate on both sides. Is marijuana a harmless drug? Of course not. Does use lead to the social breakdown predicted by the liberty-destroying political team of Bush, Murkowski, and associates? Not at all.

Republicans, I no longer vote for you because you have abandoned the cause of personal liberty. Does marijuana ruin lives? No, the government does.

Kris Farmen

Fairbanks



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