Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 127
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for February 21, 2002

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

OA local business was raided for selling certain types of pipes and accessories because it appears these items are often purchased by drug users. According to the news article, the same sort of items are being sold openly in many other neighboring cities. While law enforcement may have previously asked the business to stop selling the items, nothing in the article indicated that this was the case. So, an employee selling items the business carried in stock will go through life with a felony arrest on his record – for just doing his job.

It seems that one of the hallmarks of the so-called “war on drugs” is inconsistent enforcement. Here in Warrensburg, sinus sufferers must visit the pharmacist to buy Sudafed® at a local discount store. At that, we’re better off than Sedalia, where citizens can only buy it in multi-remedy combinations. So we undergo inconvenience at best and suffering at worst because some people use this common decongestant to help make meth. Meanwhile, the big discount clubs in Kansas City sell the large size package of Sudafed® no questions asked.

The fear that someone may misuse drugs has led to federal crackdowns on medical use of marijuana, even where state voters have approved it. This fear prevents the growing of industrial hemp, which could provide a new crop for our embattled farmers and could lessen the need to cut forests for paper pulp. This fear has led doctors to let patients suffer instead of giving them strong opiates for intense pain.

To question the “war on drugs” does not make one an advocate of drug use. Personally, I choose only caffeine and an occasional beer, plus a bit of nicotine (involuntarily from second-hand smoke). I see no problems with employer-enforced drug-free workplace rules and restrictions on minors. I do object to giving the government the power to intrude on individual liberties because a relatively small number of benighted souls choose to screw up their own lives with powerful drugs.

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