Small ‘c’ conservatives should end the war on drugs by Charles W. Moore
Interesting reading that really slams U.S. drug and prison policy and also slams Canada for following us. I particularly love the descriptions of Conrad Black, who spent some time in U.S. prisons.
Mr. Black lobbed withering and well-deserved broadsides from behind bars at the United States justice system, which he accurately describes as “putrefied,” “‘a carceral state’ that imprisons eight to 12 times more people per capita than the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France, Germany or Japan…”
“From my cell I scent the reeking soul of U.S. justice,” Mr. Black proclaimed in a 2008 letter to the London Sunday Times, asserting that America’s justice and penal systems are in critical condition, largely because of the so-called “war on drugs,” especially marijuana, which can only be regarded by thinking persons – including and especially conservatives – as hysterical, bordering on the psychotic. […]
Mr. Black characterizes “the entire ‘war on drugs'” as dismal failure, “a trillion taxpayers’ dollars squandered… one million small fry imprisoned at a cost of $50 billion a year”… “with absurd sentences, (including 20 years for marijuana offences, although 42 per cent of Americans have used marijuana and it is the greatest cash crop in California.)… targeted substances are more available and of better quality than ever, while producing countries such as Colombia and Mexico are in a state of civil war.”
This is a very surreal article to read, because of the sense of almost panicked confusion regarding the idea of legalization. The great thing is that now, in an article like this, you’re hearing legalization as a legitimate option, and that’s making those who oppose it have a hard time describing why legalization won’t work.
“The legalization proposal is mistaken, because it shows a lack of understanding of Mexico’s problem and avoids the main cause, which is quite simply the government’s loss of the monopoly on the use of force,” the group said, referring to cartels that confront security forces with grenades, automatic weapons and now car bombs.
Or how about this bizarre statement:
“I favor regulating the market … medicinal marijuana is an attempt to regulation,” Gonzalez said, “But legalization, never, ever.”
In case you missed it… a good interview by Reason.tv with LEAP Executive Director Neill Franklin
I agree with Scott Morgan:
I’m particularly interested in Neill’s argument regarding the dramatic drop in clearance rates for homicides over the past few decades. Of course, it would be difficult to prove empirically that increased drug prosecutions make it harder to solve murders. Still, it’s certainly an unflattering portrait of modern law enforcement priorities that we get better and better at arresting people for petty marijuana possession, while more and more people are literally getting away with murder.
This is an open thread.