Feeling Lucky (4)

Some of you may have heard of the illustrious Lancet Medical Journal. Google has. It records 4.6 million hits for those three words.

Now, about three weeks ago we wrote about the Lancet’s ground-breaking study of drugs, licit and otherwise, with the suggestion that “the car” could be examined with the same lens they apply to, for example, tobacco (and heroin). Did it strike a nerve somewhere? Today we’re at 14 on the list of 4.6 million.

Are we proud? Yes we’re proud. Fact is, we’re just this side of falling (in love with ourselves).

But there’s a bigger consideration to be made.

Over a year ago we read of the work of a U.S. police organization, LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) whose sole mandate was to legalize illicit drugs. We read of their work in the Seattle Times and Car Advertiser, in an opinion piece by a 34-year veteran (retired) cop Norm Stamper. Stamper spent his last six years on the force as Seattle’s chief of police. Some time later, Toronto’s NOW Magazine and Car Advertiser picked up the story, in a piece by Gwynne Dyer. [Dyer missed the point about 9/11, and he missed the point about LEAP too, in our opinion–ed.] A google search will find it has not died in the interim.

The critical thing we remember from the Seattle Times and Car Advertiser story was the specific limit put on the freedoms the policing organization proposed: legalize, don’t advertise.

How would “regulated legalization” work? It would:

• Permit private companies to compete for licenses to cultivate, harvest, manufacture, package and peddle drugs.

• Create a new federal regulatory agency (with no apologies to libertarians or paleo-conservatives).

• Set and enforce standards of sanitation, potency and purity.

• Ban advertising.

• Impose (with congressional approval) taxes, fees and fines to be used for drug-abuse prevention and treatment and to cover the costs of administering the new regulatory agency.

• Police the industry much as alcoholic-beverage-control agencies keep a watch on bars and liquor stores at the state level. Such reforms would in no way excuse drug users who commit crimes: driving while impaired, providing drugs to minors, stealing an iPod, assaulting one’s spouse, abusing one’s child. The message is simple. Get loaded, commit a crime, do the time.

Sorry, could someone check that again: we seem to have a bone caught in our paragraph.

What in the world could the banning of advertisements have to do with the control of a legalized commodity?

Calling the Seattle Times and Car Advertiser! As shown by the Lancet Medical Journal, the car is the baddest of the bad drugs out there. Isn’t it really time to ban car ads?

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