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Bloated, failed spending

Minnesota legislators made no time to talk about medical cannabis this past year. Sad that Minnesota keeps its government nose between a doctor and patient. Culture change is difficult. Decades ago while working as a RN the health care industry started to use CGI “Continuous Quality Improvement” programs to evaluate outcomes of health care. “Evidenced based practice” is one of the results. Patients and insurance companies want results and a bang for their buck. Outcomes and the costs of government programs (including prisons and the ‘justice system’) on every level must be evaluated and real conversations should take place without the screams from special interests.

Conservative, liberal and religious voices have become louder these past years about the failed war on drugs. Legitimate questions about which does more harm, the drug or the legal results if you’re arrested are taking place. Deadly and addicting cigarettes and alcohol are taxed and regulated while since 1970 over 40 million cannabis arrests have been made. Many police have died, and a trillion plus dollars spent so far, with no end in sight.

President Obama increased ‘prohibition’ spending 12x over President Bush. Is a drug arrest worth the $100,000 plus we spend to prosecute and imprison someone? Our nation currently has people in federal prison with 5 year prison terms over cannabis SEEDS, is that worth the $200,000 prison cost for that “crime”? Prohibition does more harm than the drugs. Prohibition not only supports organized crime it supports the bloated anti-drug law enforcement government programs. Like welfare reform of the 1990s we need drug war reform now, as prison and police costs are busting the budget and the outcomes have been more harmful than the ‘drugs’.

No question “drug use” by minors is unwise, no question drug use by adults does harm. As an old Detox Nurse I say it is time to treat drugs as a public health problem, not with the bloated and costly “government program”, the prison and justice system.

Roy H. Sandstrom

Williams, Minn.

 

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