Legalize Weed And Speed?

While I’m on a roll (pun intended) about pot, Republicans and Jokes, we must discuss one more huge republican fiasco. The ‘war on drugs’.

As I’ve posted here: I already believe in legalizing weed, but speed too? Heroin? LSD? I’m not sure I want that. But this post is not about me, It’s about what law enforcement wants. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, or LEAP. Apparently some want to spend their resources on real, violent, actual ‘bad guys’. Not some pot smoking, or even crank snorting. As one former police chief puts it in today’s New York Times; “I had arrested a 19-year-old, in his own home, for possession of marijuana,” he recalled. “I literally broke down the door, on the basis of probable cause. I took him to jail on a felony charge.” The arrest and related paperwork took several hours, and Mr. Stamper suddenly had an “aha!” moment: “I could be doing real police work.” zigzag

Oh the gall of that guy, not wanting to enforce the law. Not only could he be doing real police work, what about the teenage ‘criminal’? He had his door broken down, he’ll hafta pay for that. Probably got evicted, lost his job, got demonized by the local gossip mill, and will never be able to get a decent job because he’s a FELON. He can’t even own a gun because sherrif Stamper broke down his door and ruined his young life! Was he that dangerous to himself and others? I think not. I also feel that the millions of “Johnny with a joint” prosecutions of the past should be wiped off the record. Being a felon for smoking pot is not an appropriate level of punishment.

Okay, let me turn the soapbox over to the professionals. Read the Times article here

Drugs Won the War By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

This year marks the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s start of the war on drugs, and it now appears that drugs have won.

“We’ve spent a trillion dollars prosecuting the war on drugs,” Norm Stamper, a former police chief of Seattle, told me. “What do we have to show for it? Drugs are more readily available, at lower prices and higher levels of potency. It’s a dismal failure.”

For that reason, he favors legalization of drugs, perhaps by the equivalent of state liquor stores or registered pharmacists. Other experts favor keeping drug production and sales illegal but decriminalizing possession, as some foreign countries have done.

Here in the United States, four decades of drug war have had three consequences:

First, we have vastly increased the proportion of our population in prisons. The United States now incarcerates people at a rate nearly five times the world average. In part, that’s because the number of people in prison for drug offenses rose roughly from 41,000 in 1980 to 500,000 today. Until the war on drugs, our incarceration rate was roughly the same as that of other countries.

Second, we have empowered criminals at home and terrorists abroad. One reason many prominent economists have favored easing drug laws is that interdiction raises prices, which increases profit margins for everyone, from the Latin drug cartels to the Taliban. Former presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Colombia this year jointly implored the United States to adopt a new approach to narcotics, based on the public health campaign against tobacco.

Third, we have squandered resources. Jeffrey Miron, a Harvard economist, found that federal, state and local governments spend $44.1 billion annually enforcing drug prohibitions. We spend seven times as much on drug interdiction, policing and imprisonment as on treatment. (Of people with drug problems in state prisons, only 14 percent get treatment.)

I’ve seen lives destroyed by drugs, and many neighbors in my hometown of Yamhill, Oregon, have had their lives ripped apart by crystal meth. Yet I find people like Mr. Stamper persuasive when they argue that if our aim is to reduce the influence of harmful drugs, we can do better.

Mr. Stamper is active in Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, or LEAP, an organization of police officers, prosecutors, judges and citizens who favor a dramatic liberalization of American drug laws. He said he gradually became disillusioned with the drug war, beginning in 1967 when he was a young beat officer in San Diego.

“I had arrested a 19-year-old, in his own home, for possession of marijuana,” he recalled. “I literally broke down the door, on the basis of probable cause. I took him to jail on a felony charge.” The arrest and related paperwork took several hours, and Mr. Stamper suddenly had an “aha!” moment: “I could be doing real police work.”

It’s now broadly acknowledged that the drug war approach has failed. President Obama’s new drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, told the Wall Street Journal that he wants to banish the war on drugs phraseology, while shifting more toward treatment over imprisonment.

The stakes are huge, the uncertainties great, and there’s a genuine risk that liberalizing drug laws might lead to an increase in use and in addiction. But the evidence suggests that such a risk is small. After all, cocaine was used at only one-fifth of current levels when it was legal in the United States before 1914. And those states that have decriminalized marijuana possession have not seen surging consumption.

“I don’t see any big downside to marijuana decriminalization,” said Peter Reuter, a professor of criminology at the University of Maryland who has been skeptical of some of the arguments of the legalization camp. At most, he said, there would be only a modest increase in usage.

Moving forward, we need to be less ideological and more empirical in figuring out what works in combating America’s drug problem. One approach would be for a state or two to experiment with legalization of marijuana, allowing it to be sold by licensed pharmacists, while measuring the impact on usage and crime.

I’m not the only one who is rethinking these issues. Senator Jim Webb of Virginia has sponsored legislation to create a presidential commission to examine various elements of the criminal justice system, including drug policy. So far 28 senators have co-sponsored the legislation, and Mr. Webb says that Mr. Obama has been supportive of the idea as well.

“Our nation’s broken drug policies are just one reason why we must re-examine the entire criminal justice system,” Mr. Webb says. That’s a brave position for a politician, and it’s the kind of leadership that we need as we grope toward a more effective strategy against narcotics in America.


Filed under Crimes, Drug Wars, Economics, Republicans

3 responses to “Legalize Weed And Speed?

  1. tosmarttobegop

    To say I am mixed on this is a understatement, I do not miss drink once I realized I started feeling I deserved it rather then simply wanted it. It was time to stop it and it help that decision the week I dealt with four people going through the D.T. and I was heading that way.

    I so miss pot, totally different effect and was as the good ole days of it enlightened more then being high.
    BUT I would not suggest going to see Disney’s Fantasia, sensory over load when the mind is so fixated on the minute colors and shapes.

    Does pot lead to harder drugs? It can in that often you end up where the harder stuff is also being used.
    Your exposure rather then the effect of the pot leads to the thought “why not?”. The only time I tried something different was at a club and had some absolutely delicious Lebanese hash! There was a drug smorgasbord there and other things were offered but I maintain enough mental strength to resist.

    The crack down on pot came more from a racist attempt to drive the Mexicans out of the U.S.
    The first what could be call Federal Drug leader did not want to waste his man power and resources on fighting a weed. But the pressure was put on so heavy by the elected officials of the South/west because it would effect the Mexicans.

    If pot was legal I would be getting high at least once a week, I guess that is enough and the clearest statement I could give on the topic. Except… would it be cheaper then cigarettes?

  2. jammer5

    Weed? Not a problem. Pretty much harmless as a social drug and actually much less harmful than alcohol.

    Speed? Extremely addictive and had side affects not conducive to society. It’s a man-made drug and has little in the way of a beneficial side. I think I’d have a problem with legalizing it.

  3. tosmarttobegop

    Now there is a problem, the problem that was address in one of the anti-drug PSA. The user can become stuck in the moment. There is not desire or perceived reason to change anything your high and the world is slowed down and wonderful. You view the world from inside a box, inside that box is warm and fuzzy there is no demands and even if they is one that comes up. You have the time to think solely on that demand to think and reason. Study the demand or i.e. problem. With detail as sure as you focus on the lines in the palm of your hand ( wasn’t that such a great game?).

    There is a false concept that you can now reason and understand in a slow fashion the world and dismiss that which does not seem all that important. That chair is more comfortable then anywhere else you could be. That’s one of the dangers of legalizing pot, now you can still function but it becomes more like a mime
    slow and deliberate movements. You see the light change from green to red, you know that you need to stop the car. It is not until the cars behind you start honking like crazy that you then realize that you stopped a half a block away from the intersection.