Category: Drug laws
Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark is the latest public figure to slam the “war on drugs.” As reported by Huffington Post, Booker described the war on drugs as ineffective it
“represents big overgrown government at its worst.”
“The so called War on Drugs has not succeeded in making significant reductions in drug use, drug arrests or violence,” the Democrat wrote during the Reddit “ask me anything” chat. “We are pouring huge amounts of our public resources into this current effort that are bleeding our public treasury and unnecessarily undermining human potential.”
Booker then called drug arrests a “game.”
I found this infographic full of useful data, all pointing in one direction: We should legalize use of marijuana by taxing and regulating it. The current approach of subjecting users to the criminal justice system is destructive and immoral.
Reason Magazine has been against the “war on drugs” for decades. Here are many dozens of articles published by Reason regarding the insanity of the “war on drugs.” Citing to the New York Time, Reason gives the following evidence that the “war on drugs” is a failure:
Prices match supply with demand. If the supply of an illicit drug were to fall, say because the Drug Enforcement Administration stopped it from reaching the nation’s shores, we should expect its price to go up. That is not what happened with cocaine. Despite billions spent on measures from spraying coca fields high in the Andes to jailing local dealers in Miami or Washington, a gram of cocaine cost about 16 percent less last year than it did in 2001. The drop is similar for heroin and methamphetamine. The only drug that has not experienced a significant fall in price is marijuana . . .
Jeffrey Miron, an economist at Harvard who studies drug policy closely, has suggested that legalizing all illicit drugs would produce net benefits to the United States of some $65 billion a year, mostly by cutting public spending on enforcement as well as through reduced crime and corruption.
A government-sponsored study published recently in The Open Neurology Journal concludes that marijuana provides much-needed relief to some chronic pain sufferers and that more clinical trials are desperately needed, utterly destroying the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) classification of the drug as having no medical uses.
While numerous prior studies have shown marijuana’s usefulness for a host of medical conditions, none have ever gone directly at the DEA’s placement of marijuana atop the schedule of controlled substances. This study, sponsored by the State of California and conducted at the University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, does precisely that, driving a stake into the heart of America’s continued war on marijuana users by calling the Schedule I placement simply “not accurate” and “not tenable.”
WTF . . . the head of the DEA can’t say whether meth, crack cocaine or heroin are “worse than marijuana.” And she looks not quite right (probably for reasons other than marijuana) as she struggles with this really basic line of questions. Oh, I get it. She’s not actually saying what she thinks. She’s being political, meaning dishonest. She is not going to help American exorcise its long-running and horribly destructive drug war demon.
Check out the low-wattage amoral head of the DEA. I would have enjoyed seeing Steve Cohen grill her for another hour. And then we should fire her. And then the DEA should publicly apologize for all of the pain they are causing users of medical marijuana.
I’ve never used marijuana and I’m not trying to encourage other people to use marijuana. But neither am I discouraging adults who want to responsibly use marijuana the same way as many people responsibly use alcohol and prescription drugs. The reason I promote the legalization of marijuana is that I am horrified by the way that our politicians make personal marijuana use a criminal justice issue. Arresting 800,000 people each year (the equivalent of the population of the state of South Dakota) is a waste of taxpayer dollars and it makes our streets violent. We should tax and regulate marijuana for the same reasons we did away with Prohibition. This position is advocated by many people with careers in law enforcement, including all members of LEAP.
Colorado is soon going to vote on Amendment 64, which would do the following:
• makes the personal use, possession, and limited home-growing of marijuana legal for adults 21 years of age and older;
• establishes a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol; and
• allows for the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp.
Amendment 64 (here’s the full text) also does the following:
Amendment 64 removes all legal penalties for personal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana and for the home-growing of up to six marijuana plants, similar to the number allowed under current medical marijuana laws, in an enclosed, locked space.
The initiative creates legal marijuana establishments – retail stores, cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, and testing facilities – and directs the Department of Revenue to regulate a system of cultivation, production (including infused products), and distribution. . . .
The general assembly will be required to enact an excise tax of up to 15 percent on the wholesale sale of non-medical marijuana applied at the point of transfer from the cultivation facility to a retail store or product manufacturer. The first $40 million of revenue raised annually will be directed to the Public School Capital Construction Assistance Fund. . . .
The initiative does not change existing laws regarding driving under the influence of marijuana, and it allows employers to maintain all of their current employment and drug testing policies. . . .
Take a look at two commercials being run by the proponents of Amendment 64, on which the people of Colorado will vote in November:
Colorado has some smart and media savvy people working on this campaign, including Mason Tvert:
By the way check out Tvert’s comments on industrial hemp at the 3 minute mark. How bizarre is it that our politicians are so dysfunctional about the false alleged dangers of marijuana that they also outlaw industrial hemp, with which people cannot possibly get high? Listen to Tvert talk about the economic benefits of making marijuana and industrial hemp legal.
I’ve never used marijuana. I’m not promoting the use of marijuana, or alcohol intoxication, or the use of prescription drugs to get high. On the other hand, I know that many people do these things. In my opinion, it is not for me to tell other folks how to run their lives, as long as A) they are not minors and B) these activities don’t seriously interfere with their duties to their family or work. How is it that getting high on alcohol or prescription drugs (or runner’s high and other natural ways to get high) are OK, yet smoking a joint will cause you to end up in jail and give you a noteworthy criminal record? Yes, if you are arrested on your own property for the crime of trying to escape stress or pain, you can be marched through the same criminal justice system as those who steal cars, those who rape, and those who commit arson.
With that in mind consider the following statistics regarding marijuana usage from Huffpo:
While Obama’s term began with great promise for drug policy reformers, in the past two years it has been difficult to distinguish Obama’s drug policies from those of his White House predecessors. Although President Obama has acknowledged that legalization is “an entirely legitimate topic for debate” — the first time a sitting president has made such a statement — his administration has made a string of increasingly disappointing moves over the last year. Half of all U.S. drug arrests are for marijuana — more than 850,000 Americans were arrested for marijuana in 2010 alone, 88 percent for mere possession.
Please note carefully that 850,000 is more people than the entire state of South Dakota. America has massively dysfunctional priorities, and it’s time to think of a better way to handle urges people to get high. I would propose that we handle marijuana like we handle alcohol. Regulate it and tax it. When people whine that others are getting high illegally, I’m inclined to tell them to shut the hell up, because they are probably getting high on something (most likely alcohol or prescription drugs). And perhaps they are getting high on their feelings of moral superiority and the the excitement they get when they support laws that invade the private lives of their neighbors.
The above Huffpo article makes the legitimate point that Barack Obama would not be President if the harsh marijuana crackdown he is supporting had been applied to the young Barry Obama smoking a joint. How many otherwise law-abiding people are thrown into the criminal justice system because of the sin of wanting to feel some pleasure or some escape from the stress of the crazy world, or some relief from serious chronic pain?
Your doctor can prescribe morphine, but not marijuana. That’s how dangerous it supposedly is. The problem is that the government has consistently concocted bad science in order to villainize marijuana.
This link will lead you to a short post by Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic. Embedded in that post is the following video featuring Irv Rosenfeld, a man who is one of the few persons in the U.S. who can legally use marijuana. He made an excellent presentation that left me perplexed: How did we ever get to this point where we are denying sick people a substance that can help them? And how is it that the U.S. is willing to arrest 800,000 people per year for using a harmless drug. Harmless, you might ask? Yes, watch the video starting at minute 7.
I’ve never used marijuana or any other illegal drug. I don’t plan to. I hate to see what Prohibition is doing to this country, though. It’s time to end the craziness, but instead of acting sensibly, Obama is ramping up the war against marijuana? What is he on?
Glenn Greenwald points out Barack Obama’s hypocrisy when he asserts that he cannot stop the federal government from prosecuting sick people with prescriptions. He said everything but this (with sums up his idiotic position): “Sorry, but I’m only the highest ranking law enforcement officer in the United States.” Here’s an excerpt from Greenwald’s insights on Obama’s crackdown on medical marijuana:
“As an emailer just put it to me: “Interesting how this principle holds for prosecuting [medical] marijuana producers in the war on drugs, but not for prosecuting US officials in the war on terror. Or telecommunications companies for illegal spying. Or Wall Street banks for mortgage fraud.”
That’s about as vivid an expression of the President’s agenda, and his sense of justice, and the state of the Rule of Law in America, as one can imagine. The same person who directed the DOJ to shield torturers and illegal government eavesdroppers from criminal investigation, and who voted to retroactively immunize the nation’s largest telecom giants when they got caught enabling criminal spying on Americans, and whose DOJ has failed to indict a single Wall Street executive in connection with the 2008 financial crisis or mortgage fraud scandal, suddenly discovers the imperatives of The Rule of Law when it comes to those, in accordance with state law, providing medical marijuana to sick people with a prescription.”