Saturday, June 18, 2011

Rethinking the utterly wasteful War on Drugs

Former President Jimmy Carter, in an editorial published by The New York Times on Thursday, 
urged sitting U.S. officials to rethink the drug war by decriminalizing marijuana possession and focusing on harm reduction policies over hard boiled policing.

In his essay, Carter looks at the proposals by a global commission of formerly high ranking officials who pleaded with the U.S. recently to take a new approach to reducing the harm caused by drug addiction. the former U.S. president calls their research and conclusions "persuasive" and suggests it is not far from what he proposed in 1977.

"I said the country should decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, with a full program of treatment for addicts," he wrote. 
"I also cautioned against filling our prisons with young people who were no threat to society, and summarized by saying: 'Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.'"

“For years advocates of free trade in drugs—that is, basic rights to life, liberty, and property for drug consumers, producers, and merchants—have pointed out that prohibition, in addition to being an immoral invasion of liberty by the State, sets in motion a variety of concrete evils that harm innocent people. These evils include the corruption of law enforcement, violent crime, and the expansion of intrusive government. Besides these domestic evils, the U.S. government has alienated farmers in foreign lands by helping to destroy their crops and livelihoods. If that’s not terrorism, nothing is.”
- Sheldon Richman

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