Now I don't want to get off on a rant here, but the war on drugs is a more frustrating stalemate than a tug-of-war on ice. While DEA seizures are higher than ever, so is anyone who wants to be.

The drug war has apparently worked to some degree, as both casual use and addiction have fallen in recent years. But at what cost? Now, instead of junkies, cokeheads and glue sniffers, we have coffee-addled super-achievers who'd sooner mow you down in the mall parking lot with their sport utility dreadnoughts than drop the speedometer below 70. Say what you will about drug addicts, at least they move slowly. It's time to change our way of thinking and take the war on drugs out of the political hot button campaign topics. There is a percentage of our society that will always be addicted to something. Whether it's cocaine, pills, beer, cigarettes, or that new car smell.

Countries like Peru, Colombia, and Bolivia produce and export drugs because their only other economic alternatives do not bring in nearly enough money. That means if we really want to stem the tide of drugs from south of the border, there is only one painful but necessary course of action: We as a nation must resolve to dramatically increase our consumption of wooden donkey carvings and armadillo-shaped pi?atas.

I don't know what the answer is. But I would like to ask the people of Colombia something. Between marijuana, coffee and cocaine do you think it might be possible to grow a crop that doesn't delude people into believing they actually have something interesting to say?

Drug traffickers are consummate businessmen. They have identified a demand, efficiently routed their infrastructure to fulfill it, and profited by exploiting the gap between cheap production and materials and high retail premiums. Their methodology is indistinguishable from that of a successful U.S. Corporation, except for, in this day and age, being a bit more ethical.

Every generation has had their drugs of choice. In the 60's, it was pot and LSD. In the disco era, it was coke. The 80's had crack and in the 90's we had crystal meth and Ecstasy. And nowadays? Well, now we have pot, LSD, coke, crack, crystal meth and Ecstasy.

And cocaine still plays an enormous part in our culture. Without it, stock traders could not put in 75 hour work weeks, and interstate truckers would deliver a lot more spoiled fruit. More importantly, there would be no second act segment in those E True Hollywood stories.

There are a lot of campaigns out there trying to prevent young people from getting into drugs in the first place. Unfortunately, teens tend to view these groups as uptight Puritans who haven't had fun since they outlawed witch trials. The zero-tolerance people are the same ones who tell you not to listen to hip-hop, play violent video games, and remain a virgin until after you're married. Anyone who believes that the average teenager will sit for that is on better weed than their kids.

The Anti-Drug campaigns have attacked the airwaves with images of frying eggs and terrorist bombings. Everything I need to know about drugs I learned from a poignant, 15-second PSA where the guy from "Yes Dear" pulls up a chair and sits in it, backward style. By the way, that's when you know they're leveling with you, kids. When they turn the chair around.

Hey, here's a thought, maybe you should get someone in on these campaigns who actually understands children. Kids want to be bad. You need Little Jimmy to stop smoking pot? Show him the picture of his 8th grade history teacher prancing around a Dead concert in a tie-dye loincloth. He'll never look at marijuana the same way again. Or the War of 1812, for that matter.

You can make a reasonable case that we shouldn't legalize the most deadly and addictive of the world's narcotics, but how can you possibly justify arresting elderly women smoking marijuana to ease their glaucoma, or even more desperately ill patients smoking it to ease their final days? My wish for the politicians who put their own careers ahead of the quality of life of ill and dying human beings is that some day, when they go to receive their final judgement, the first words out of God's mouth are "Dude, way harsh."

I say if you really want to discourage people from doing drugs, legalize everything for a year and encourage people to experiment. The smart people will sit back and barricade themselves in their homes, while all the drink-the-bongwater burnouts go to town, mixing industrial grade sealant and horse tranquilizers into a hookah and smoking it. I guarantee you, before the year is up, we'll dramatically thin the herd and who knows? Maybe some of the more demented stoners will mix so many weird chemicals, they'll stumble onto a cure for cancer in their pursuit of a buzz that could win the Nobel Peace Pipe.

Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.


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