Short bits
September 1996

Have a smoke
Steve Schell

President Clinton has declared nicotine to be an addictive drug. This will allow the Food and Drug Administration to more closely regulate the sale of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, which both become devices that deliver the addictive substance. The stated objective is preventing teen-agers, 500,000 of whom start smoking each year, from having access to tobacco products. But this action still leaves tobacco less restricted than any other addictive drug. The question is, why?

Here are the facts:

Why, then, is tobacco still legal and marijuana is not?

Build it and they will come
The state Department of Transportation is planning to extend the Florida Turnpike from its present terminus at Wildwood over to US 19 in Levy County. The proposed route will take the toll road through the Goethe State Forest, home of black bear and endangered red cockaded woodpeckers. The state purchased the land back in 1992.

The DOT says the route is needed to reduce traffic on I-75, projected to reach capacity by 2010. Look at a map. How much traffic will this extension take from I-75? The DOT has acknowledged that no funding exists for design or construction within the next 10 years but says that to relocate the route would mean to sart the planning process all over again.

Florida law requires that the route be studied because when the turnpike was created it was defined as extending to US 19. A consultant has been hired to study three proposed routes as well as a no-build option. For the sake of what little natural habitat we have left, the no-build option seems to be the only way to go.

Blue Key's Special Rights
On October 11, the annual Blue Key Homecoming Smoker will be held in the O'Connell Center. Since the event is held on campus, alcohol has not been present at the smoker. Blue Key wants to change that and proposes to set up bars along with professional bartenders for a period preceeding the Banquet.

What do you think? We consistently hear that UF has a no-alcohol policy on campus, including dorms, athletic events, and parties. We also note that if you have enough money, you can circumvent this policy. For example, look at the Touchdown Terrace section of the North Endzone. If you have seats in this area ($5000 minimum contribution per seat) you get to drink at the games. If this is any indication, then Blue Key ought not worry. With enough influential alumni with big bucks, they should be able to change the administration's mind faster than you can shout, "Hey, barkeep!"

Drug Stingers Stung
The State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville has dropped charges in several drug cases because of questionable practices by the Jacksonville police detectives who made the busts.

In one case, the two detectives videotaped themselves selling drugs undercover in Fernandina Beach back in February. In one instance, they provided an 18-year old with crack, a pipe, and a lighter and allowed the youth to smoke the crack in their vehicle. Circuit Judge Bill Parsons called the action by the detectives "unlawful and completely outrageous" and ordered the case dismissed. The youth had been charged with sale and delivery of cocaine. Another suspect is asking for dismissal of the same charges against him because the same detectives supplied him with crack in exchange for his help in purchasing drugs on the streets of Jacksonville.

It is clear that these charges would not hold up under entrapment questioning and it is also clear that the detectives acted improperly in these cases. Their actions illustrate the importance that law enforcement officers place on making drug busts by whatever methods necessary. Something is wrong when law enforcement must entice people into commiting a crime for the sake of the officers' drug bust record.

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