The street gang and associated drug trade problem in Canada won’t be solved by a get-tough, criminal-justice-system response, nor should we expect young homies to just say no. Look to the United States for proof of this. […]
Today, things are so bad that the FBI has made street gangs and the underlying drug trade their number one priority, even over domestic terrorism. The failure in this campaign is a testament to the abject failure of the U.S. war on drugs and gangs. […]
Canada has the opportunity, but perhaps not the courage, to employ a different approach on street gangs. To be sure, we must tackle the underlying socioeconomic causes of the street-gang problem, including poverty, income inequality and persistent discrimination. At the same time, we must equip our police agencies with the resources they need to take out the hardcore 20% or so of all street gangsters who are responsible for the majority of Canadian street violence. We must spend much more money on early prevention and diversion, because this is not a problem that we can arrest our way out of.
Finally, we need to embark upon drug legalization, which will starve gangs of their principal oxygen supply and serve to upset the attractive risk-reward proposition that every new gangster now faces. [emphasis added]
That is the message. Powerful stuff, and so incredibly true.
He goes on…
There is no contradiction in being pro-drug-reform yet anti-drug use. In its present form, the war on drugs is both bad public policy and a fight we cannot win. All drug users should have the right to harm themselves if they so choose. Recognizing that we cannot eliminate their demand, I would much prefer that drug users purchase their wares in a controlled setting rather than from young gangsters, who effectively control what gets sold, where it gets sold and to whom it gets sold. […]
Drug reform will not solve the drug problem entirely. But it will go a long way to solving what has been termed the “drug-problem problem,” which is the pull of the gang and its associated crime and violence
This is a really great OpEd, and it should be circulated widely.
It’s so refreshing to hear such voices of sanity making powerful statements.
While we’re talking about sane statements, Transform also reminds us of this one back in 2002, endorsed by 108 Members of the European Parliament, where they proclaim that:
“…the drug prohibition policy stemming from the UN Conventions of 1961, 1971 and 1988 is the actual cause of the increasing damage which the production, trafficking, sale and consumption of illegal substances inflict on entire sections of society, the economy as well as public institutions, thus undermining health, freedom and individuals’ lives”
[and call for] “a system for the legal control and regulation of the production, sale and consumption of substances which are currently illegal.”