Sunday, November 9, 2008

The right conversation

Drug War Rant
Sunday, November 9, 2008

The right conversation

This OpEd by Richard M. Evans in several papers in Massachusetts says it right.

Don't look now, but the resounding two-to-one victory of Question 2, the marijuana decriminalization initiative, may well turn out to be a blessing to Gov. Deval Patrick and the legislature as they face the current fiscal reckoning.

It's not that the new law will save a lot of money - the proponents claimed around $30 million, but even that will not make a big difference. What makes a big difference is that for the first time, voters statewide have gone on record as supporting drug policy reform, providing the first opportunity in decades to rethink the laws that have flooded our courts, packed our prisons and strained our treasuries. [emphasis added]


And it continues flawlessly.

Ronald Reagan, naturally, said it clearly: "Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves." Purging the criminal justice system of people we are protecting from themselves could free up hundreds of millions in criminal justice and incarceration savings, without threatening the public safety.

Hopefully leaders will now emerge, not only in politics, but in the media, education, and certainly in law enforcement to guide a new public discussion of this thorny but necessary topic. A good place to start is with some crucial questions that, until the Question 2 vote, few were ready to confront:

  • Is it realistic to think that continuing to pour vast resources into detection, enforcement, prosecution and punishment, we will ever achieve success in the struggle against illegal drugs?
  • When we are "successful," how many more people will be locked up, and at what cost to taxpayers?
  • Where, exactly, is the line between abhorrent conduct we punish and abhorrent conduct we tolerate?
  • Does it make sense to conflate the concepts of drug use, drug abuse and drug addiction?
For decades, few politicians have dared to criticize the laws lest they be branded "soft on drugs" in the next election. But in an era of evaporating public resources, the question is no longer whether drug offenders deserve our scorn, but whether they deserve our hospitality at $43,000 per year.

Billions have been spent in a mighty effort to fight and condemn drugs. Question 2 may well provide an historic opportunity to come to terms with them.


Public Servant

Hawaii Tribune Herald
The Police Department won't ease enforcement of marijuana laws following the passage of a ballot initiative making that the "lowest law enforcement priority."

"No. 1, it's not a law. It's a resolution," Police Chief Lawrence Mahuna said. "No. 2, there will be no change how we prioritize the enforcement of marijuana.

"The resolution does not invalidate federal law," Mahuna said. "It doesn't legalize marijuana. It's still a Schedule 1 controlled substance. [...]

"This priority is not something that is given to anybody but the police chief," Mahuna said. "Nothing will change."

Translation: "F#ck you! I'm the Police Chief. I don't listen to the 'will of the people.' F#ckin' people don't have any say in who gets busted here."

Add to that the pathetic whining of law enforcement in Massachusetts, and it puts a rather ugly public face on what we were already seeing -- a seriously dangerous illness of lawlessness infecting the law enforcement community.

From Pete Guither


  1. The War on Drugs is another phony war, just like the War on Terror.

    They should be named the "War to Take Away your Civil Rights, Liberties and Money."

    Both were designed and put into place in order to further turn America into a police state that ignores the Bill of Rights and sends hunter-killer teams to dispatch anyone who disagrees with tyranny.

    Both have engorged the federal budget with trillions of dollars of OUR money, all to keep us under the bootheel of fascism.

    Some of that money used to turn the local cops into some sort of paramilitary unit, with grenades, machine guns and even armored personal carriers.

    Wall Street can steal trillions of dollars of OUR money, and not only won't be prosecuted, they've been rewarded with another trillion of OUR money to help ease the pain of getting called out on blogs for being thieves, which is what they are.

    Thieves in custom made 3 piece suits and pants suits, but still thieves none the less.

    While Wall Street can go on its merry way, with plans to steal even more of OUR money, the DOJ looks the other way.

    But if you're some poor schmuck who's toking on some herb in the privacy of your own home, don't be surprised if some heavily armed goon squad kicks down your door and starts blazing away with submachine guns

    If they got the wrong address and killed some innocent, oh well... collateral damage.

    "Badges? We don't need no stinkin' badges!"

  2. Even our local sheriff's dept. has gone to the cameo green fatigue look for uniforms.

    It's getting hard to tell the military from the locals.