In drug war, the beginning of the end? by Bernd Debusmann of Reuters. Excellent OpEd.
Between 1971, when Richard Nixon launched the war on drugs, and 2008, the latest year for which official figures are available, American law enforcement officials made more than 40 million drug arrests. That number roughly equals the population of California, or of the 33 biggest U.S. cities. […]
“Taking all this together, there is reason to believe that we are at the beginning of the end of the drug war as we know it,” says Aaron Houston, a veteran Washington lobbyist for marijuana policy reform.
Far-fetched? Perhaps. But how many people in the late 1920s, at the height of the government’s fight against the likes of Al Capone, would have foreseen that alcohol prohibition would end in just a few years? Prohibition lasted from 1920 to 1933 and is now considered a failed experiment in social engineering.
Alcohol and marijuana prohibition have much in common: both in effect handed production, sales and distribution of a commodity in high demand to criminal organizations, both filled the prisons (America’s population behind bars is now the world’s largest), both diverted the resources of law enforcement, and both created millions of scoff-laws.
Reconsidering addiction: a film about Bruce Alexander’s remarkable ‘rat park’ experiment. An interesting discussion, and one that makes clear that the simplistic view that “drugs,” in and of themslves, are “addictive” is not only wrong, but it’s dangerous.
This war was lost long ago by Michelle Teheux in the Pekin Daily Times. A surprisingly good OpEd by an editor of a local paper just down the road from where I live.
Many people living in pleasant neighborhoods like those in Pekin, Morton, East Peoria and Washington like to feel they are insulated from the drug trade, but thatâ€™s rot. Pay attention to arrest records and youâ€™ll notice itâ€™s not uncommon for a person living in a nice neighborhood in Tazewell County to travel to the south side of Peoria to buy drugs. This is not just a south side of Peoria issue. It affects all of us.
Drug users who go home to their nice safe neighborhoods to do the drugs they just picked up on the south side ought to know their patronage helps fuel the drug and gang war, both in Peoria and in Mexico.
As drug customers, they have the blood of thousands on their hands.
So the solution would seem to be to impose severe penalties for drug use and to throw billions of dollars at law enforcement to just stamp out this drug problem once and for all. Right?
Well, we tried that, and it worked even less well than Prohibition worked against alcohol use.
Itâ€™s time to try something new.
Apparently the notion of “legal Acapulco Gold” is just too much for some people. The headline of this article was “Legal Acapulco Gold Gets Calderon’s Consideration as Drug Killings Climb” but it’s been changed to “Legal Pot Gets Calderon Consideration as Deaths Mount.”
I liked the first headline better.
Thomas D. Elias: Voters lying about legal pot? is an incoherent OpEd that wanders all over the place without quite lighting on anything.
Keith Humphrey’s discovers the notion that legal marijuana in California might lead to “drug tourism.” Duh. Anyone driving into Missouri and seeing all the Fireworks stores right by the border could have told you that. Yep, “at least some California communities would endure the externalities of drug tourism that the people of Maastricht are facing now.” A small price to pay, compared to all the death and destruction of prohibition.
Jeralyn and TalkLeft has some interesting reading about the Latest on Obama Administration and Medical Marijuana
It’s Stupid Press Release time!
Datig says, “I find it curious that Richard Lee, the proponent of Proposition 19 has not made public statements regarding his own measure. Instead we are seeing speakers-for-hire from the Drug Policy Alliance, members from L.E.A.P. such as Judge Gray, talking about issues that frequently do not relate to the measure. We are also hearing from Gary Johnson, the former Governor of New Mexico, who was unsuccessful in his own state with the legalization of marijuana and who now wants to meddle in California’s business. We are hearing legal opinions from former government officials, appointees and retired police officers who are no longer on the front lines, yet they support Prop. 19 while they seem to be completely out of touch with reality. They argue about history, about inflated, overblown and partial statistics, about industrialization and the so-called advantage Californians would have over the Mexican drug cartels if marijuana were legalized. Yet no one seems to be getting into what is in front of the voters except for those of us who oppose Proposition 19.”
Oh, yes. And then she lies. (no surprise, there)
Actually, I’ve never even heard of Alexandra Datig before, and all those cops and governors and judges seem to be pretty good spokespeople for voting yes on Proposition 19.
Oh, wait, here’s someone else speaking up FOR Proposition 19. Longshore Workers
The longshore workers have jumped aboard the pro-marijuana legalization bandwagon, as the 25,000-member Northern California District Council of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union say they are pro-Prop 19.
And why would that be?
“The ILWU NCDC supports Prop 19 for good reason,” sez the union’s official statement. “The continued prohibition of marijuana costs society too much. Billions of our tax dollars are wasted annually on the prosecution and incarceration of many, whose only crime is using, growing and selling marijuana.
“Peoples’ lives are ruined for a lifetime because of criminal records incurred from using a drug that is used recreationally by people from all walks of life. Those criminal records fall disproportionately on the backs of workers, poor people, and people of color,” says the ILWU NCDC.
Raid Victim Family May Hit Vegas Police with RICO Suit
Andre Lagomarsino, the attorney representing the estate of Trevon Cole and his fiancÃ©, Sequoia Pearce, said today he is considering a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) lawsuit against the Las Vegas Police Metropolitan Department in the shooting death of Cole in a June drug raid at the apartment shared by Cole and Pearce. In addition to a possible RICO claim, the lawsuit would assert wrongful death, assault and battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. It would also assert civil rights violations.
Coroner’s Inquest was held today. Verdict may come later this weekend, but only one police officer has been found criminally negligent in about 200 inquiries.
Wow. An actual bit of justice, here.
Grits for Breakfast notes:
“while the indictment says he misused more than $200,000, an audit done by his successor found that [Joe Frank] Garza had paid $1.2 million in drug seizure forfeitures to his three staff members and another $81,000 to himself between January of 2002 through the end of 2008.” That’s pretty darn brazen.
Rolling Stone is on the Just Say Now bandwagon.
Speaking of Just Say Now… If you haven’t already, get over to the Just Say Now campaign sponsored by Firedoglake and Students for Sensible Drug Policy and sign up.
This is an open thread