Time Magazine gives very nice play to the drug decriminalization in Portugal, thanks to this excellent article by the always outstanding Maia Szalavitz.
Glenn Greenwald points out the value of the article in Time at his Salon blog, and then hits us with this paragraph:
Few political orthodoxies have more of a destructive impact than our approach to drug policy. Our harsh criminalization framework results in the imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of American citizens, breaks up families, burns tens of billions of dollars every year, erodes civil liberties, turns our police forces into para-military units, and spawns massive levels of violence and criminality — all while exacerbating the very harms it seeks to address. If a measured, rational debate over America’s extremist drug policies can take place in Time Magazine, then it can take place anywhere.
by the way, if any of you noted the assumptions made by Kleiman and Reuter in the Time article, Greenwald reacts in the comments to his post:
do you see any value in following up w/ these people re their assertions?
Peter Reuter was at my event to comment, so I had ample time to criticize what he said. Mark Kleinman emailed me once about something I wrote and had a major outburst, expressing all sorts of hostility – I’m not saying that motivated him to dismiss the relevance of Portugal, but I am going to write and demand specifics.
I find it so shallow and vapid when people say: “We can’t look to what happened in that country because there are cultural differences and size differences” without being specific — why would drug decriminalization work with a population of 10 million people but not 300 million? What, specifically, are the meaningful “cultural differences” between Portugal and the U.S. that allows decriminalization to work in the former but not the latter?
In fairness to Kleiman, he was quoted in that article and thus not necessarily able to control what was conveyed, but I am going to demand some specifics from him.
I’ll be curious to hear more.