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April 2012
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Breaking News: Drug Policy Reform Movement Willing to Compromise and Move to the Center

This is some huge news!

I’ve spent a good portion of the day on conference calls with leaders of drug policy reform organizations around the world. There may have been one or two that didn’t participate, but enough did join in to form a clear consensus on a major (maybe even shocking to the press) new direction for drug policy reform.

Here’s the big news (a press release will be forthcoming): as of this date, all major drug policy reform groups worldwide will no longer demand that all drugs be legalized without restriction.

I know that this could be a blow to some supporters, but we need to break the impasse that existed between the extremes of prohibitionists and unrestricted legalizationists. It was the right move.

Not only are we dropping demands for unrestricted legalization, but we are, as a group, making an unprecedented move all the way to the clear centrist position of accepting and even supporting drug-appropriate regulations on the production, marketing, distribution, possession, and use of all drugs.

Policy-makers will no longer need to worry about extreme fringe legalizers when attempting to create appropriate fact- and science-based drug policy. Those fringe unrestricted-legalization supporters are gone — replaced with centrist regulated-legalization supporters.

The only fringe extremists remaining are the prohibitionists. It’s time for them to abandon their failures, and compromise to meet us in the middle.

 
 


 
 

Of course, there were no such conference calls today. No big move to the center. Drug policy reform groups have always been there, at the center. None of the major ones have ever called for completely unregulated legalization. That’s a mythical position that has been invented by prohibitionists as a way to paint their opposition as extreme.

It is, actually, quite silly that we sometimes find ourselves having to explain that legalization doesn’t mean selling shrink-wrapped pre-filled syringes of heroin to 14-year-olds in 7-11 stores, nor that we must allow cocaine distributors to be named advertising sponsors of sports events.

What got me thinking about this was my rather amused reaction to a passage written by Otto Pérez Molina in the Guardian this weekend:

Moving beyond prohibition can lead us into tricky territory. To suggest liberalisation – allowing consumption, production and trafficking of drugs without any restriction whatsoever – would be, in my opinion, profoundly irresponsible. Even more, it is an absurd proposition. If we accept regulations for alcohol and tobacco, why should we allow drugs to be consumed and produced without any restrictions?

Our proposal, as the government, is to abandon any ideological position (whether prohibition or liberalisation) and to foster a global intergovernmental dialogue based on a realistic approach – drug regulation. Drug consumption, production and trafficking should be subject to global regulations, which means that consumption and production should be legalised but within certain limits and conditions. And legalisation therefore does not mean liberalisation without controls.

What a notion.

Hey, I think it’s great! If the President of Guatemala, or anyone else, wants to “invent” the idea of regulated legalization, we’re happy to let them take credit.

We’ll come and meet you at our home in the center.

 
 


 
 

If you’re interested in Molina’s statement, you might also want to check out this take: Finally, a politician talks sense on drug legalization by Tim Worstall.

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35 comments to Breaking News: Drug Policy Reform Movement Willing to Compromise and Move to the Center

  • Pricknick

    As always, (and yes you are fallible), great work!

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  • darkcycle

    Yes, Pete, as reluctant as I was to let go of my demand that Kindergartners be given instruction of how to sanitize a syringe, and how to tie off correctly (have you ever tried to locate a prominent vein on one of those little tykes? I can tell you, it’s difficult! They won’t show no matter how hard you slap their little arms!), as a result of your well reasoned arguments, I have relented. As for my demand that Peyote be considered a vegetable (well, it IS…) when included in school lunches, I still think it’s healthier than ketchup. And my idea for Ketamine soda pop, well, I’ll put that on the back burner for now.

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  • N.T. Greene

    Maybe you should try to have such a conference call. And then release an actual press release.

    We were just talking about proliferating good information, after all. Even if the consensus already exists, it might be useful to make sure everything is worded properly in everyone’s mission statements. The l-word, while an accurate enough term, has a whole bunch of stigma behind it.

    You start dropping regulation like a cluster bomb though? It sounds different enough to have some impact in US politics. We don’t want to legalize drugs — we want to regulate them in a more effective way.

    Maybe I’m just dull, though. Who knows?

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  • Adam-Symbiosis

    Hi guys, long time reader of the site here in the UK, keep doing what your doing!

    To me this sounds like the magic bullet we’ve all long advocated, only now it’s slowly getting to the political class. No “leader” wants to sound soft on crime by legalizing drugs, but now the word is out that people actually want drug regulation, well damn that’s a different matter all together. There’ll still be a few who will demand unfettered access al la free the weed but I think they’d be crazy not to accept and work towards “controlled” access rather than the minefield we have now. This is as much a issue to bring round the politicos as it is the “average” Joe informing them of sensible ideas for regulation, which I think we are all doing.

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  • Metabaron

    It is clear that, if any legalisation is going to happen, it will be sold as the solemn achievement of the highest politicians. In the end they will all have”fought hard to achieve this goal”.
    But it doesnt matter who takes creditrr as long as we get there.

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  • MaineGeezer

    I try to use the phrase “legal regulated sale” when talking to the Warriors.

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  • kaptinemo

    Being an ersatz historian or sorts, you learn very quickly how truths get covered up by myths…and how that leads to ignorance on the part of the electorate, useful ignorance to be exploited by certain groups of people, particularly politicians.

    The drug laws of this country are perfect examples. Most Americans are of the benighted opinion that presently illegal drugs have been illegal since the inception of the Republic.

    George Washington’s instructions to his estate on how to make sinsemilla, Ben Franklin’s mentions of his use of ‘black drop’ (opium) etc. have been neatly expunged from all popular culture references…deliberately. Can’t go ’round saying many of the Founders almost certainly were high on one substance or another while creating a new nation from scratch doesn’t go well with Officer Friendly telling the tykes “Just say no!” when the Founders certainly said “Yes!”, and repeatedly.

    No false contrition about ‘youthful indiscretions’ needed, as these were men (and no small number of women) exercising their personal sovereignty, not State-infantalized adults begging permission from what used to be their servant (government) to pretty-please-may-I do what you want with your own body.

    But with the Internet, that’s changing. More people than ever before know about the history of the drug laws, and who crafted them and why. The knowledge is seeping into the cultural awareness worldwide, regardless of language. And what’s happening in Central and South America, with national leaders boldly demanding a dialogue, is the proof.

    It remains to be seen whether someone in the opposition has a “Saul at Tarsus” moment and realizes the wind has shifted, the tide has turned, the worm has, too, and it’s time to end the stupidity. But with their help or not, the bell is tolling for drug prohibition. Ignorance is being replaced with knowledge…and those that peddled that ignorance at tremendous cost to global society had best start lawyering up.

    At least, the survivors will need to. I suspect that in nations where the ‘rule of law’ was that he with the guns makes the laws, where corrupt governments run by the drug trade made their local 1% rich while everyone else was impoverished, their societies will deal with their betrayers in a more ‘direct’ fashion.

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  • claygooding

    After this long I would expect to see heroin regulated before marijuana,,no matter how you slice it,,hemp legalization is the fight that they will hold on too the longest.

    If we ask that they regulate everything else and they can keep marijuana illegal the 7-11 store would be selling opium in a week.

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  • Dante

    Everyone who reads this board needs to prepare for the day when the prohibitionist drug warriors declare that they, and they alone, have the solutions to the problem which they, and they alone, created. Once they realize where the money is, they will advocate for all the ideas that we (anti-prohibitionists) have been thinking about and discussing for 40 years.

    We will continue to be pushed out of “their” discussion, and they will never admit they stole all our ideas. We have to learn to choke down the bile as they grant themselves awards for “saving” us. From them.

    Different day, same drug warriors.

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    • darkcycle

      I know, Dante. when it finally ends, the most loathsome of the prohibitionists will step up to take the credit. I don’t give a rat’s rectum. Legalize and give the credit to John Walters, I don’t care, just LEGALIZE!

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    • kaptinemo

      The way I see it is that the pols will, of course, hypocritically be for re-legalization when the polling numbers make it abundantly clear that the people, as usual, are way ahead of them.

      But, as I said, we have the Internet, now. Hell, we freakin’ OWN the Internet, and the LameStream Media is still limping along far behind, crippled by the very same top-down, corp-rat structure that is little more than another dinosaur in the tar pit. It will be very easy this time to track all the developments leading to re-legalization…and who were the real guiding lights, movers and shakers, etc. AND WHO WERE NOT.

      I hope that when that day comes, I will have the opportunity to write the definitive history about how it happened. Really.

      And what drives this sentiment? Any Babylon 5 fans out there? Then you’ll understand this perfectly. This is a story that badly needs telling, if only as a dire warning to future generations never to allow a government to have that kind of power, never, ever again.

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  • Matthew Meyer

    Slightly OT.

    JM Santos wants convincing: show me the numbers. I really like that he is insisting on examining the question, and I hope it’s not just to get hush money:

    ““There are good arguments for legalizing, but I would prefer to reach that conclusion after an objective discussion. The U.S. says, ‘We don’t support legalization because we think the cost of legalization is higher than no legalization.’ But I want to see a discussion where both approaches are analyzed by experts to say, really, [whether] the cost is lower or not.””

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/interview-with-colombia-president-juan-manuel-santos-transcript/2012/04/10/gIQA00Ul7S_story.html

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  • ezrydn

    Did I really see #29 at Martinsville NASCAR Sprint Cup with “Prohibition has finally ended” painted on the hood?

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    • Peter

      It’s only Budweiser’s crappy ad from the superbowl set in 1932. I’m sure Bud are still firmly in the prohib camp for any products other than their piss-water “beer.”

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      • claygooding

        Budweiser is also in an ad by GE about turbines for power plants,,,line is “there would be no “Bud” without you,,from a guy in a bar too a GE employee,,the double meaning is definitely there,especially since it is a GE ad.

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  • Duncan20903

    .
    kaptinemo says: But, as I said, we have the Internet, now. Hell, we freakin’ OWN the Internet, and the LameStream Media is still limping along far behind, crippled by the very

    Anonymous concurs:

    Operation Cannabis 420 – The OFFICIAL Press Release

    Dear Citizens of the World

    For far too long cannabis has been oppressed by big corporations ,big pharma and governments when it could be benefiting all of mankind on many different levels. We have heard and we have watched your government lie and deceive you on all the dangers of cannabis. Show support by making your profile pictures green this April 20th on your social network profiles. OpCannabis phase 1, initiated. We are Anonymous…..Expect us.
    /snip/

    /snip/
    WE ARE ANONYMOUS.
    WE ARE LEGION for legalization!
    WE DO NOT FORGIVE the crimes of the War on Drugs.
    WE DO NOT FORGET our brothers + sisters locked up because of it.
    EXPECT US.

    #Occupy420
    #April20
    #OpCannabis
    #TeamVendetta

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  • Duncan20903

    Is this what they call mainstreaming? The California State Athletic Commission approves medical exemption for usage of marijuana.

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  • Eridani

    While I am not against regulated legalization, if the regulation limits quantities, then the black market will still be around. This is why there are black markets for certain prescription (legal) drugs.

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    • darkcycle

      Those prescription medications are subject to the strictures of the CSA too. As far as recreational use is concerned, they may as well be completely illegal. If reasonable quantities were available and prescriptions were allowed without restriction, would you say the same thing? I think reasonable regulation could include limits on quantity.
      As far as the black market surviving legalization, the black market in tobacco is a mere fringe of the market, and it is prohibitively taxed….

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      • Windy

        There is no restriction on quantity when buying tobacco or alcohol, why should there be for currently illicit drugs when they are “legalized”?

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  • Mike Parent

    Take little bites. Marijuana legalization should be prioritized, if only due the the facts that it’s safe and effects the most people.

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    • claygooding

      Mike,,cudos to your orginization,,we have been taking small bites and now they are recommending decriminalizing all drugs but the dangerous ones,,marijuana and heroin,,there is no incremental-ism
      for marijuana legalization when the entire drug war is a scam covering up that marijuana prohibition is a scam.

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    • darkcycle

      Mike, the whole regime is a source of huge amounts of pain and death. The entire social disaster of prohibition needs to be addressed. There are PLENTY of organizations out there working on “little bites”. Politically, that’s how it’s done. We’re dealing with the theater of ideas and public policy options here. The entire machine needs to be examined publicly before policies are ready to change. If we don’t question the entire paradigm, how are we going to take that next “little bite” on the way constructing a new social policy?

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      • Mike Parent

        I’m 100% for all legalization, but the marijuana issue is an easier sell. Still, it’s not easy fighting 70 years of government funded propaganda at taxpayers cost in the hundreds of Billions of $’s. Once you slay that dragon, the others become more doable, IMHO.
        LEAP member, NYPD, ret.

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        • darkcycle

          I wasn’t disagreeing Mike, I was pointing out that the entire scheme need to be examined as well. Re read me post, please. I know the legislative process is and needs for the moment to be piecemeal.

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  • claygooding

    Ninth Circuit Revives Lawsuit over Religious Marijuana Use
    WSJ / Paul Plazzolo / 4,9,2012

    http://forum.grasscity.com/marijuana-news-usa/1031061-ninth-circuit-revives-lawsuit-over-religious-marijuana-use.html#post14362609

    “”A federal appeals court revived a lawsuit by a Native American religious group seeking an exemption from federal law so its members can use marijuana without fear of prosecution.””

    No info on limits of church membership or if you have to carry a card.

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    • If not mistaken that’s the Native American Church. One must be a native american to belong. Not as hard to participate if non-native (I’ve done a fair share of teepee meetings) but the “rigors” of the ceremony – eating/drinking peyote, up from sunset to sunrise – just naturally dulls many non-native’s eagerness.

      I found it interesting that this case has arisen at all because in my days of participating in peyote ceremony, ganja wasn’t all that accepted by the more traditional native types. With the younger tribal folks it wasn’t much of an issue.

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    • ahhh… tis not the standard NAC. This is the Oklevueha Native American Church. They had troubles with the Utah state gubmint a few years back. In that case it was a James Mooney involved and in this current Hawaii case it’s Michael Mooney.

      And the name Mooney goes way back to the late 1800s when Smithsonian ethnologist James Mooney became an advocate of and for peyote ceremony/religion. His stance made him a banned author by the US gubmint.

      *rant*

      My involvement w/ native americans began in college, mid-’70s. It was like meeting family I never knew I had. I did a lot of sweatlodge and maintained and kept active the sweatlodge at Opal Creek for years.

      It was my meeting in college w/ a Chumash Vietnam Vet that prevented my severing my life from my own indigenous roots. Those tribal folks gave me an anchor, helped me see that I’d never be Chumash or Lakota or Seneca… but I still came from “the people.” And we all have indigenous roots…

      If one can call indigenous living “religious” then one can also say we all have a traditional historic and sacred right (some would say “obligation”) to commune w/ those teachers of the plant world like peyote, ganja, jimson, opium, iboga, ayahuasca, teonanacatl… etc (it’s a long list).

      That communing (and let’s call that religious/ceremonial use) is as old a religion as we have. It’s fundamental. Like salicylic acid… aspirin from willow bark. We learned as we went. Nature has always been the teacher… until now. Now nature is either the enemy or the fount of resources to be exploited.

      The older I get the more I understand how far away from home we’ve travelled. And the deeper my understanding goes, the sadder it makes me at just how much we’ve screwed up.

      Protecting our rights to access the great natural pharmacopeia of this earth is a most basic act of survival and matriotic. The fact that we might have some fun and giggles along the way in our “reading” of the Big Earth Plant Book is a bonus, not a defect.

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