The resolution ultimately failed, but the discussion continues and the seed is planted.
O’Rourke pushed things further by adding 12 words: “supporting an honest, open, national debate on ending the prohibition on narcotics.” The council passed it unanimously.
Yet even a bid to talk about drug legalization was too much for Mayor John Cook. He vetoed the bill, at least partly out of concern that Washington might not take the measure seriously with the drug legalization line in it.
Nevertheless, the controversy brought what has been rare American media attention to Mexico’s crisis by turning it into radio and cable TV talk fodder. That’s a start. [..]
When you step back and take a broad look at Mexico’s growing carnage, it’s easy to see why El Paso’s city leaders think legalization doesn’t look so bad. Mexico’s drug problem is not the drugs. It is the illegality of the drugs.
Legalization is not the perfect solution. But treating currently illegal drugs in the way we treat liquor and other legal addictive substances would provide regulation, tax revenue and funds for rehabilitation programs. Most satisfying, it would wipe a lot of smiles off the current drug lords’ faces.
This is why the prohibitionists don’t want even an open honest national dialogue about legalization. They’re afraid that when that happens, their precious drug war is doomed.
And it’s getting harder and harder to keep that discussion under lock and key. It’s escaping and will be heard.
We also saw Mayor Cook’s dismissal of legalizers as “potheads” fail miserably. The notion, promoted heavily for decades by prohibitionists, that those who advocate for drug policy reform are nothing but whacked out potheads wanting easy drugs simply won’t fly anymore.
The stereotype was that a prohibitionist would give a discussion about the dangers of drugs and a pothead would respond “Uh, I disagree, man. I mean, herb is, you know. 420.”
Our side is supposed to be lazy and incoherent, clearly not the case if you look at change.gov, or change.org or any internet political discussion that rubs up against drug policy.
Contrast the stereotype above, for example, with the recent actuality in the El Paso discussions. Our side was coherent, well prepared – armed with facts and studies in economics, foreign policy, health, crime, etc. – while the prohibitionists stuck to the same fully debunked nonsense. We had reason and they had the equivalent of “Oh yeah? Well, you’re a jew!”
That open honest national dialogue is going to happen one way or another, because the prohibitionists have nothing of value to stop it. Eventually, the politicians will get on board or get left behind.