10 Drug Policy Goals

LEAP member and active drug policy reformer James P. Gray (a Superior Court Judge and author of Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed: A Judicial Indictment Of War On Drugs), has an interesting OpEd.

He’s trying to put together a list of common goals that prohibitionists and reformers should have to show that prohibition is not the solution to achieving these goals. I think they’re pretty good, although I might quibble about the wording here and there (my comments are italicized in brackets).

So, with the understanding that we are all on the same side of this issue, namely we all want to reduce drug abuse and all of the harm and misery that accompanies it, I have made a list of the top 10 goals that I think we are trying to accomplish in this area, in order of importance. See if you agree. They are:

  1. Reduce the exposure of drugs to and usage of drugs by children; [Ah, but it does depend on how you define “children” and “exposure of drugs.” Also, I would think that part of it would be reducing exposure of children to illicit business.]
  2. Stop or materially reduce the violence that accompanies the manufacture and distribution of drugs, especially to police officers and innocent by-standers;
  3. Stop or materially reduce the corruption of public officials, individual people and companies, and especially children that accompanies the manufacture and distribution of drugs;
  4. Stop or materially reduce crime both by people trying to get money to purchase drugs and by those under the influence of drugs;
  5. Stop or materially reduce the flow of drugs into our country; [ I would add the word “illicit” because we always need to legally import drugs]
  6. Reduce health risks to people who use drugs;
  7. Maintain and reaffirm our civil liberties;
  8. Reduce the number of people we must put into our jails and prisons; [perhaps expand that to include all those caught within the prison industry, including those on probation/parole.]
  9. Stop or materially reduce the flow of guns out of our country and into countries south of our border; [I think this is a separate, and distracting issue.]
  10. Increase respect for our laws and institutions.

You might want to replace one of these goals with another, or readjust the order, but I anticipate that most people would basically agree with those top 10 goals. Please give it some thought.

Definitely worth thinking about.

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12 Responses to 10 Drug Policy Goals

  1. paul says:

    A nice sentiment, but the agreement is not mutual. The prohibitionists have long demonstrated their contempt for goals number 7 and 8. Not only do some of them not care about liberty or the prison population, they actually think reduction of liberty and an increase in inmates is a feature, not a bug, of the drug war.

  2. DdC says:

    I can’t decide if Canada’s Harper is just an obedient sniveling lapdog coward a bit more than Biraq Obomba is gung ho on Imperialism. Harper never busted Marc and could be considered an assessory with full knowledge. Waldo Pee had no problem snatching Americans out of their hospital beds in Canada, no resistance. Now another “example” another family traumatized. More Tax dollars spent caging political prisoners of WoD. This time taking a sovereign citizen out of his native country for no real crime, just to stop a fund raiser and contributor to those against the Ganjawar. Pet shops buy cannabis seeds everyday in the US. McCaffrey tried to bust 17 truckloads and was told hands off. Now Marc faces 5yrs”. Knowing it all continues on Nixon’s lie and does real harm to real people. In this illogical process of “setting examples”. What is the message kids?

    TOMORROW – Monday, September 28
    – Marc Emery to be Taken Into Custody

    Marc Emery will be taken into custody at the BC Supreme Court on September 28. Come and show your support from 9:00am – 11:30am, 800 Smithe St., Vancouver.

    American Hands in the Canadian Pot
    Canada’s ‘Prince of Pot’ in one of his last newspaper interviews before extradition to a U.S. prison.

    No Extradition for Marc Emery!
    Discussion about the Drug Enforcement Administration’s attempt to extradite Marc Emery, Michelle Rainey, and Greg Williams to the United States of America. All three Canadians face life in US prison for their political activism and financing drug law reform worldwide through the sale of marijuana seeds.

    “Prince of Pot” & Jodie U2b

  3. daksya says:

    For many prohibitionists there’ll be disagreement at (1) itself, which they think ought to read
    “Reduce the exposure of drugs to and usage of drugs by children

  4. kaptinemo says:

    As Paul has pointed out, the problem with the prohibs is that they are authoritarians at heart.

    One of my favorite authors as a kid was Heinlein, and he had such people pegged very well:

    “Political tags–such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and. so forth–are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.” (Emphasis mine -k.)

    One might add, for those unfamiliar with his work (blasphemy for a civil libertarian!) that Heinlein’s description of the source of motivations of the former group was being offered sarcastically. Such people always claim to have the highest motives and loftiest principles, but in the end wind up being the ones initiating the violence.

    ‘Live and let live’ is an alien concept to them, and incredibly frightening. Until they get over what H. L. Mencken described as ‘Puritanism’ (“The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”) and realize their neighbors are not their subjects, desirous of being led around by the nose by those who are no more enlightened than themselves, they will keep trying.

    • Pete says:

      As you can probably guess, I also read every Heinlein book written when I was young. Lazarus Long sure was a good vehicle for him to express his independent political views.

  5. BruceM says:

    When I am king of the world, there will be a mandatory $100,000 fine + 5 years in prison for mentioning “children” in a public policy debate.

    In the meantime, all arguments that do mention “children” are automatically ignored and completely disregarded as per se fallacious and erroneous.

    Mentioning “the children” is the first – and last – refuge of the scoundrel.

  6. Cliff says:

    I really like #10. The war on certain drugs breeds a contempt for law enforcement. This is due to the corruption of the illegal money and the arbitrary and capricious manner in which the laws are applied.

    I would edit #7 by adding a statement reaffirming the sanctity of the human body and protecting an individual’s privacy by restricting war on certain drugs testing to determining intoxicity during an accident or health related reasons and only requested by that individual.

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  8. jayrollinhippie says:

    Heinlein was A major libertarian and showed total skepticism for prohibition of any kind. Long live RAH

  9. gravyrug says:

    I think #9, stopping the flow of guns, could be rolled into #3, stopping corruption. Without the corruption, the guns wouldn’t go, and without prohibition, they wouldn’t be necessary for the producers.

  10. Osborne Perry Anderson says:

    I think the good judges heart has been in the right place for a long time now! Kudos for daring to care… which is more then the majority of judges care about!

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