THE HEADLINE of Joan Vennochi’s column, “Pot not a crime, but trade still has victims’’ (Op-ed, April 28), is true, in that possession of small amounts is decriminalized in Massachusetts. However, instead of blaming marijuana users for the violence inherent in a market where production and sales remain illegal, she should look toward the remaining prohibition laws themselves.

Just as with the fiasco of America’s experiment with banning alcohol in the 1920s and ’30s, today’s violence and crime result overwhelmingly from the policy of prohibition, not the consumption of substances that happen to be illegal.

If marijuana and other drugs were legalized and regulated like alcohol is today, the drug gangs would disappear as Al Capone did, the illegal market violence would end, and the police could focus on improving on things such as the low clearance rate for murders. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself: When was the last time someone died fighting over a street corner or a dorm to sell beer?

Karen Hawkes 
The writer, a speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, is a retired Massachusetts state trooper.

PUBLISHED: Pot prohibition is what fuels violent crime, Boston Globe, May 5, 2011