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couch, the longest running single-issue blog devoted to drug policy, is published by the Prohibition Isn't Free Foundation
May 2009



Possible medical marijuana vote in Illinois tomorrow

Ill. medical marijuana vote expected Tuesday

If the Senate votes on Haine‰s bill tomorrow, it will be the farthest a marijuana proposal has gotten in Illinois.

Last chance to call your Senator if you live in Illinois.

[Thanks, Julie!]

More signs that the tide is shifting

A major article in Foreign Policy by Editor in Chief Moisés Naím: Wasted
First, the recognition of the historical disconnect and the damage it causes…

This ‹it doesn‰t work, but don‰t change itŠ incongruity is not just a quirk of the U.S. public. It is a manifestation of how the prohibition on drugs has led to a prohibition on rational thought. ‹Most of my colleagues know that the war on drugs is bankrupt,Š a U.S. senator told me, ‹but for many of us, supporting any form of decriminalization of drugs has long been politically suicidal.Š
As a result of this utter failure to think, the United States today is both the world‰s largest importer of illicit drugs and the world‰s largest exporter of bad drug policy. The U.S. government expects, indeed demands, that its allies adopt its goals and methods and actively collaborate with U.S. drug-fighting agencies. This expectation is one of the few areas of rigorous continuity in U.S. foreign policy over the last three decades.
A second, and more damaging, effect comes from the U.S. emphasis on curtailing the supply abroad rather than lowering the demand at home. The consequence: a transfer of power from governments to criminals in a growing number of countries. In many places, narcotraffickers are the major source of jobs, economic opportunity, and money for elections.

Then, the tentative movement from that stupidity…

Fortunately, there are some signs that the blind support for prohibition is beginning to wane among key Washington elites. One surprising new convert? The Pentagon. Senior U.S. military officers know both that the war on drugs is bankrupt and that it is undermining their ability to succeed in other important missions, such as winning the war in Afghanistan. When Gen. James L. Jones, a former Marine Corps commandant and supreme allied commander in Europe, was asked last November why the United States was losing in Afghanistan, he answered: ‹The top of my list is the drugs and narcotics, which are, without question, the economic engine that fuels the resurgent Taliban, and the crime and corruption in the country. . . . We couldn‰t even talk about that in 2006 when I was there. That was not a topic that anybody wanted to talk about, including the U.S.Š

Moisés nails it with the conclusion…

The addiction to a failed policy has long been fueled by the self-interest of a relatively small prohibitionist community–and enabled by the distraction of the American public. But as the costs of the drug war spread from remote countries and U.S. inner cities to the rest of society, spending more to cure and prevent than to eradicate and incarcerate will become a much more obvious idea. Smarter thinking on drugs? That should be the real no-brainer.


[Thanks, InsanityRules]

Supreme Court rejects attempt to invalidate California’s medical marijuana law

Maybe now the San Diego county officials will stop throwing their ridiculous (and costly) temper tantrum against medical marijuana and follow the state law. Link

The justices, without comment, denied a hearing to officials from San Diego and San Bernardino counties who challenged Proposition 215, an initiative approved by state voters in 1996 that became […]

UK’s ‘phoney’ drug war criticized

The criticism is coming from a right-wing think tank who claims that the British government has been too lax.

It said the UK’s policy of spending most of its drug budget on treatment was less effective than spending more on prevention and enforcement. […]
The report’s author said the UK’s drug policy should bear down on the illicit use of all drugs and feature a tougher enforcement programme to reduce the supply of drugs.

Since that report is kind of bucking the trend, I thought I’d go see what the think tank was all about.

The Centre for Policy Studies believes in freedom and responsibility. One of Britain‰s best known and most respected think tanks, the Centre develops and promotes policies to limit the role of the state, to encourage enterprise and to enable the institutions of society š such as families and voluntary organizations – to flourish.

You can’t make this stuff up. It’s amazing how often “freedom” and “limited government” appear to be code words for using the state to lock more people up.

Want to help write a Congressional campaign policy?

Adriel Hampton is running for U.S. Congress in the 2009 special election for California’s 10th District.

I‰m asking for concerned citizens of every stripe to help me devise a strong anti-Drug War policy statement for my Congressional campaign. I‰ve given it a brief jumping off point over at MixedInk, a collaborative writing technology that I‰d like to see used more in government.

‹When elected to Congress, I will immediately move to legalize and regulate the sale of marijuana. Tacit legalization through state-by-state decriminalization and ‹medical cannabisŠ (as tested in California since 1996) has proven a disastrous failure. Our prisons are dangerous and overcrowded, non-violent criminals who could easily be rehabilitated languish under harsh minimum sentences, and Mexican cartels and urban gangsters flourish. Prohibition of marijuana, like alcohol before it, has proved foolish and far too costly. Legalization would not only reduce drug-related violence, it would create funds for increased mental health funding and counseling for those who find themselves dependent on the drug.Š

Join me.