Inside Opinion

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Tag: drug war


Legislators need clear picture of WestNET’s drug-case results

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

One of Gov. Chris Gregoire’s proposed budget cuts during the current special session includes trimming the number of drug task forces in the state from 19 to 12.

She doesn’t suggest which seven should be axed, but after reading Sean Robinson’s report in Sunday’s News Tribune, we’d like to suggest a likely candidate: the West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team – WestNET – based in Kitsap County.

The task forces, which receive both state and federal funds, are supposed to focus on big dealers and drug-trafficking networks. And while WestNET has had some successes, those were the exceptions. Robinson found that the task force spent an inordinate amount of time and resources going after small-time offenders.
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D.A.R.E. vs. legal dope

As in California, marijuana activists in Washington are trying to legalize the drug. Another argument against it:

By Skip Miller
for the Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles City Council’s vote Tuesday to shut hundreds of so-called medical marijuana dispensaries was a welcome move, but the larger battle over pot has just begun.

Across the country, lawmakers and residents of cash-strapped states are edging ever closer to legalizing — and taxing — marijuana. In California, the first state in the nation to pass a medical marijuana law, backers of an initiative to legalize the drug expect to gather enough signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot. And a Field Poll last year showed more than half of California voters would support such a move.

Two beliefs drive this push to make pot legal: that new tax revenue will stave off deeper budget cuts and that marijuana is a relatively benign drug. Neither is true.

Legalization almost certainly would bring with it additional substance abuse in the state, and the long-term public costs associated with that would vastly exceed the relatively modest amount of new revenue legal weed might bring in. Baby boomers who hazily recall their own experimentation with marijuana often are stunned to learn that the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol — or THC, marijuana’s primary psychoactive substance — in domestic sinsemilla has quadrupled since the late 1970s.
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Mexico’s narco-war is a threat to the United States

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

In the traditional Sicilian mafia, families were normally off limits. You could kill the capo; you couldn’t kill his mother or children.

Leave it to Mexico’s drug-traffickers to make the mafia look humane. On Tuesday, one faction took revenge for the death of a cartel leader in a way shocking even by narco-terror standards. Hours after the funeral of a marine who fell in the raid that left Arturo Beltran Leyva dead, some of Leyva’s allies invaded the marine’s home and gunned down his mother, brother, sister and aunt.

The message couldn’t have been more clear: Touch us, and your family may pay the price.

Most Americans pay little attention to Mexico, but this atrocity should a wake-up call. It exemplifies the drug-fueled wave of criminal violence that has been taking on the dimensions of a civil war in that country.

More than 15,000 Mexicans have been killed since President Felipe Calderón launched a military offensive against the drug cartels and crime syndicates three years ago. The body count – criminals, corrupt and honest police, bystanders, mayors, soldiers, federal officials, even priests – can’t be blamed on Calderón. It reflects the embedded power of the syndicates and how hard it has been for Calderón’s government to challenge that power. The alternative is to stand by and watch crime bosses become the de facto rulers of Mexico – a nightmare for Mexicans and Americans alike.
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