Nice job by Kari Lydersen! Read the whole thing. A couple of quotes from yours truly, but a big thanks goes to Tom Angell, Jeanne Barr, George Pappas and others from SSDP who have been involved.
Welcome, Washington Post readers. Check out the posts below for more on the exhibit and our response.
Update: I’d like to address one quote from the DEA in the article:
DEA spokesman Steve Robertson responded: “We’re a law enforcement agency — we enforce the laws as they are written. Congress makes the laws.
In a pure system, that could very well be true. It is, in fact, Congress that has to step up to the plate to enact meaningful reform. However, the DEA in particular cannot get off the hook that easily. And that’s because they are not just a law enforcement agency (maybe not even primarily a law enforcement agency). They function as drug war cheerleaders and extremely active lobbyists. They constantly attempt to sway public opinion and promote their activities. They use tax dollars to lie to the people, and they even look for opportunities to silence opposition. Remember Karen Tandy’s blatant rejoicing when Marc Emery was arrested… because it would strike a blow at legalization proponents?
“a significant blow … to the marijuana legalization movement… Hundreds of thousands of dollars of Emery’s illicit profits are known to have been channeled to marijuana legalization groups active in the United States and Canada. Drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on.”
So, no. The DEA cannot escape responsibility for the evils of prohibition by simply claiming that they’re enforcing the law.
As far as the second line in Steve Robertson’s quote:
People say if we didn’t have [drug] laws there wouldn’t be a problem, but there was a problem before and that’s why laws were established.”
That’s just wrong.
- I don’t know of a single drug policy reformer that says we shouldn’t have drug laws. Most reformers are looking for regulation laws rather than prohibition laws.
- I don’t know of a single drug policy reformer that says there wouldn’t be a drug problem if we didn’t have laws. They simply say that the problems are far worse and more numerous under prohibition.
- “there was a problem before and that’s why laws were established.” Uh, no.