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Dear Editor,

I would like to respond to the letter to the editor in Friday’s paper — Sept. 22 — regarding the comments made by the editor at the end of the column. The suggestion that these drugs be made legal and taxed is not as far fetched as it may sound. 

Many of the European countries have done just that, and for a very simple and sound reason. First, they have long since realized that the influx of hard and soft drugs cannot and never have been able to be stopped. 

As Friday’s letter mentioned, the war on drugs in the U.S. is a lost one. Drugs are cheaper and more plentiful than ever in the history of our country, and why is that? 

It’s because the illegal drug trade is the purest form of capitalism at work — demand and supply. The demand is huge, thus the supply is too.

And what the Europeans have realized is that by legalizing drugs they have eliminated a huge profit center that the underworld — the mafia and cartels — developed and made enormous fortunes on.

The U.S. gov't realized this with alcohol during prohibition, that by making alcohol legal again they alone control and reap the benefits of the taxation. Heck, take a look at the states that have legalized “marijuana”. They are making literally hundreds of millions on the taxes and revenue generated by the sale of legal marijuana.

Now understand, I think the meth problem all over the world is a terrible scourge. But we need to look at this from a realistic point of view. Even the countries that execute dealers have not put a tiny dent in the influx of drugs in their countries.

We here in Am. Samoa are so stuck in a time warp with regards to marijuana that it’s really a joke. Bear in mind that one can be prescribed opioids such as Morphine, Oxycontin, Oxycodone, Vicadin, all of which are far more potent and addictive than cannibis.

And let’s be real too: Cannibis is far less potent than even one beer. I have never heard of fights breaking out from being too stoned on pot, but a friend of mine was beaten to death a couple of years ago during a drinking binge. 

Look at the effects that alcohol has on our community. We all know one or more alcoholics in our families and villages, and the affects it’s having on all those around them.

And like the drugs, there is not one venue to address this addiction, no rehab — only a stint in the T.C.F. when things get out of hand. 

The problem of course lies in the “easy money”: This territory receives a large amount of federal money for the "war on drugs", so naturally we cannot allow pot to be legalized, eh? 

Such short sightedness and shallow thinking prevails as we continue to live in a cloistered world of our own making here.

Put it to a vote — if the Fono has the nerve — which I believe they do not, to legalize marijuana, and watch how fast it becomes legal.

It is NOT a gateway drug, as was the conventional thinking for years. It does not lead to stronger drugs.

I am 61 years old, with a chronic spinal condition that allows me to receive strong pain meds monthly, when the reality is that marijuana has been as effective when prescribed by my doctors in the states.

And yet we are so closed minded here that this proven medication is not available to those who would prefer that over powerful opioids.

The scientific facts are valid, the stuff works, is not addictive, and yet we continue to allow our local 'mafia' such as those mentioned in the letter to the editor to run and control the supply.

The economy is in tatters, the gov't is in dire straights with its finances, the bloated monster that is this government is, is on the cusp of crumpling in on itself, as it tries to raise taxes that only hurt the poor working class folks — increasing fees that in turn only stifle growth.

Lord I ask that you show the ignorant the wisdom to see truth, the courage to make the right decisions, and the fortitude to do what is right and just to make our island the better place it can and should be.


John Engles

(Editor’s note: If anyone has been listening to US national news about the war on drugs in the US — many users are saying it’s cheaper to buy heroin than purchase the opioids!

While here locally, it is difficult to support laws that dictate harsh sentences for illegal drug use & possession when there are no rehab programs on the table, and no new jobs because there are no new industries. I agree with Mr. Engles — let’s call for a referendum on marijuana — to make it our new cash crop, along with taro and bananas.

Unlike Mr. Engles, however, I don’t think it will pass, but this way there will be an answer from the people, not just dictates from leaders who want to take more of our money through excise fees, because it’s easier than working for it — GONG! ra)