The Price of Spice | Letters | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

The Price of Spice 

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The “War on Spice” article [July 1, City Weekly] was very good, made better by not repeating the usual “War on Drugs” sound bites and actually citing research about spice. It’s not surprising to read that the political class is seeking to create yet another way to make it easier for citizens to earn a conviction rather than an education. What is disheartening is to read that the legislator who is going to sponsor a bill to ban spice, Rep. Tim Cosgrove, D-Murray, admits he is doing it based on a belief instead of knowledge. What he is saying, in truth, is that facts are irrelevant. Is issue illiteracy and a lack of curiosity now a requirement for all lawmakers?

The entire thing echoes of the discredited 60-year “War on Marijuana” and will only create another criminal class, another avenue for illegal and violent explosions common in all high-stakes, black-market endeavors. In short, it is a goddamned stupid idea. The only beneficiaries are owners of and investors in the Prison and Military Industrial Complex, as well as those with a desire to further void the Bill of Rights. Consider for a moment the results of enforcement of another ban on another substance:

1. More arrests, and with them, the further clogging of the alleged justice system.

2. More costs in maintaining an even higher prison and jail population, when the money could be better spent on improving the well-being of the public rather than ruining the lives of people—primarily young adults—with criminal convictions.

3. More money spent on building more prisons and jails and not schools and public health.

4. More money spent to hire more prison guards.

Finally, there will be increasing pressure from private prisons corporations. The Prison Industrial Complex has a well-documented (but underreported) history of political corruption and unaccountability in numerous states.

It’s strange that they keep trying to ban more drugs, because Utah legislators are perfectly happy to levy sin taxes on anything they personally disapprove of. So, the legalization of all currently “controlled substances” would be a party for them. The revenue generated would dwarf that of cigarette and booze sin taxes.

Paul Ames
Eureka

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