War on Drugs is Ineffective
Two states plus Washington D.C. can follow in the footsteps of Colorado and Washington state by voting in favor of fully legalizing marijuana with ballot initiatives, this mid-term election cycle. The states that have decided to have their electorate vote on ballot measures this time around are: Alaska, Oregon, and Florida.
Several months behind Colorado, but still only the second state in our union to do so, Washington state has begun to officially sell recreational marijuana. Sales began on July 8th. As with Colorado, the first day of sales was largely celebratory and more historic in nature, than anything else.
Back on November 6th, 2012, the bold states of Colorado and Washington passed ballot measures alongside the last presidential election process to fully legalize marijuana.
The American economy is taking off and not looking back. The Labor Department reported that 321,000 jobs were added in November and also reported that last month saw the biggest gain in hourly wages since June of 2013.
When is it time to throw in the towel and accept that the tide has turned? Napoleon must have asked himself this very question after being humiliated in the Battle of Waterloo and summarily exiled for the remainder of his life. It's also the same question many anti-gay marriage activists must be asking themselves after the Supreme Court refused to wade back into the gay marriage debate.
Hundreds of thousands of people flooded the streets of New York City today to warn the world that humans are killing the planet and insist that something has to be done to fix it before it becomes too late.
Toward the end of Prohibition, John D. Rockefeller Jr., the powerful businessman who supported the US ban on alcohol, admitted defeat. Seeing the effect Prohibition had on America, he concluded that the policy was doomed. So in the 1930s, he underwrote a study that laid out how to legalize alcohol while strictly regulating it. The study shapes alcohol policy to this day, as Garrett Peck explained for Reason.
As the US debates drug policy reforms and marijuana legalization, there's one aspect of the war on drugs that remains perplexingly contradictory: some of the most dangerous drugs in the US are legal. Don't believe it? The available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows tobacco, alcohol, and opioid-based prescription painkillers were responsible for more direct deaths in one year than any other drug. The chart above compares those drug deaths with the best available data for cocaine, heroin, and marijuana deaths.
On September 6, 2006, a score of masked gunmen stormed into a night club in Uruapan, Michoacán, fired at the ceiling, and tossed five severed heads onto the white-tiled dance floor. Being narcotraficantes—members of one of the brutal drug cartels that effectively ruled large swaths of Mexico in the early years of this century—they also left a note. In towns along the border, boastful, taunting, and tendentious banners and placards, or narcomantas, were routinely hung up next to piles of corpses. This one read, “The Family doesn’t kill for money. It doesn’t kill women. It doesn’t kill innocent people, only those who deserve to die. Know that this is divine justice.”
Over the weekend, the New England Conference of United Methodist Churches, which represents 600 congregations, voted for a resolution that calls for a complete end to the War On Drugs. The resolution points to Christian principles of redemption and restoration to replace the current system of punitive sanctions against drug users:
Maryland District Judge Askew Gatewood brushed off a prosecutor's request to jail Ronald Hammond for possessing 5.9 grams of marijuana — saying it wasn't even enough pot to "roll you a decent joint" — and ordered the Baltimore man to pay a $100 fine instead. But the case eventually led to a 20-year prison sentence for Hammond. As the Baltimore Sun's Justin Fenton reported, Hammond was on probation at the time for selling $40 worth of crack cocaine to an undercover officer. Maryland Circuit Judge Lynn Stewart-Mays suspended a 20-year sentence in that case, telling Hammond he would face the full term if he violated his probation in any way.
The conservative wave of 2014 featured an unlikely, progressive undercurrent: In two states, plus the nation's capital, Americans voted convincingly to pull the plug on marijuana prohibition. Even more striking were the results in California, where voters overwhelmingly passed one of the broadest sentencing reforms in the nation, de-felonizing possession of hard drugs. One week later, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYPD announced an end to arrests for marijuana possession. It's all part of the most significant story in American drug policy since the passage of the 21st Amendment legalized alcohol in 1933: The people of this country are leading a dramatic de-escalation in the War on Drugs.
Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), in an interview with Talking Points Memo last week, became the first sitting US senator to publicly support marijuana legalization. Merkley told TPM he will likely vote in support of Measure 91, which would fully legalize marijuana possession and sales in Oregon. "I lean in support of it," he said. "I think folks on both sides of the argument make a good case. And there is concern about a series of new products — and we don't have a real track record from Colorado and Washington. But I feel on balance that we spend a lot of money on our criminal justice system in the wrong places and I lean in favor of this ballot measure."
The child migrant crisis has some roots in a seemingly unrelated policy: the war on drugs. Since October, 52,000 children from outside the country have come to the US without an adult and strained the US immigration system. Many of them are fleeing a rising tide of violence back home in Central America's Northern Triangle of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Behind that violence is a massive network of criminal organizations that range from elaborate drug cartels to less sophisticated street gangs.
Conservative Supporters of this Argument
|10/29/09||Tom Tancredo||Marijuana Should be Legalized|
A lot of what pushed me into this position was watching what happened on the border, he explains. The issue of violence that surrounds it — not just on the border — and the crime all over the place. The number of people in prison and the amount we spend to keep them there. The broken families.
When you add it all up, when you put all the stuff on the scales — so to speak — there's no question, he says. It tips automatically to the legalization side.
|02/25/09||Glenn Beck||Conservative Radio Host||Marijuana Should be Legalized|
“I think it’s about time we legalize marijuana.” He added, “We have to make a choice in this country. We either put people who are smoking marijuana, behind bars, or we legalize it…[banning cannabis] is not helping us, it’s not helping Mexico, and it is causing massive damage on our southern border.”
|04/17/08||Ron Paul||Former U.S. Respresentative [...||Marijuana Should be Legalized|
Ron Paul and Barney Frank introduced US House of Representatives: H.R. 5843 (To eliminate most Federal penalties for possession of marijuana for personal use).
|07/25/07||Dana Rohrabacher||U.S. Representative [R-CA]||Marijuana Should be Legalized|
Co-Sponsored the The Hinchey-Rohrabacher medical marijuana amendment (House Amendment 272).
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