Saturday, February 25, 2006

DRUG WAR VS LEGALIZATION...A FORMER COP'S VIEWPOINT

The "Drug War" has been going on in America for decades. What results has it produced?

Well...let's see. Prisons filled with small time users, crooked cops, innocent bystanders killed by drug lords in turf wars, and higher crime rates in other areas because manpower has to be used in the war on drugs.

Let those dopers be

A former police chief wants to end a losing war by legalizing pot, coke, meth and other drugs
By Norm Stamper, Norm Stamper is the former chief of the Seattle Police Department. He is the author of "Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing" (Nation Books, 2005).
October 16 2005

SOMETIMES PEOPLE in law enforcement will hear it whispered that I'm a former cop who favors decriminalization of marijuana laws, and they'll approach me the way they might a traitor or snitch. So let me set the record straight.

Yes, I was a cop for 34 years, the last six of which I spent as chief of Seattle's police department.

But no, I don't favor decriminalization. I favor legalization, and not just of pot but of all drugs, including heroin, cocaine, meth, psychotropics, mushrooms and LSD.

Decriminalization, as my colleagues in the drug reform movement hasten to inform me, takes the crime out of using drugs but continues to classify possession and use as a public offense, punishable by fines.

I've never understood why adults shouldn't enjoy the same right to use verboten drugs as they have to suck on a Marlboro or knock back a scotch and water.

It's not a stretch to conclude that our draconian approach to drug use is the most injurious domestic policy since slavery. Want to cut back on prison overcrowding and save a bundle on the construction of new facilities? Open the doors, let the nonviolent drug offenders go. The huge increases in federal and state prison populations during the 1980s and '90s (from 139 per 100,000 residents in 1980 to 482 per 100,000 in 2003) were mainly for drug convictions. In 1980, 580,900 Americans were arrested on drug charges. By 2003, that figure had ballooned to 1,678,200. We're making more arrests for drug offenses than for murder, manslaughter, forcible rape and aggravated assault combined. Feel safer?

How would "regulated legalization" work? It would: 1) Permit private companies to compete for licenses to cultivate, harvest, manufacture, package and peddle drugs.

2) Create a new federal regulatory agency (with no apologies to libertarians or paleo-conservatives).

3) Set and enforce standards of sanitation, potency and purity.

4) Ban advertising.

5) Impose (with congressional approval) taxes, fees and fines to be used for drug-abuse prevention and treatment and to cover the costs of administering the new regulatory agency.

6) Police the industry much as alcoholic beverage control agencies keep a watch on bars and liquor stores at the state level. Such reforms would in no way excuse drug users who commit crimes: driving while impaired, providing drugs to minors, stealing an iPod or a Lexus, assaulting one's spouse, abusing one's child. The message is simple. Get loaded, commit a crime, do the time.



Mr. Stamper has more that goes with what I've posted above.
The rest of his column can be found at the link below.

Let Those Dopers Be
by Norm Stamper
Los Angeles Times

5 comments:

John said...

I was just listening to radio show on this subject, 90+ years that this stupidty has been going on. There are other, more important thing that the folks in uniform should be doing. Thanks for the rant.

Fixer said...

Gord dug this up some time back. I'm in full agreement. The 'War on Drugs' is about as useful as the 'War on Terra'. They both only make the rich, on both sides, richer.

Grandpa Eddie said...

John,
Ya got that right. Way to much manpower and money being wasted on a loosing battle...gee, kinda like Iraq.

Fixer,

'War on Drugs' is about as useful as the 'War on Terra'.

Now there's two oxymorons in the same sentence.

...and you're right, the rich get richer...again and again and again.

Granny said...

I've been saying it for years here in the meth capital of the USA (I think anyhow - It's an odd claim to fame isn't it).

The War on Drugs is working about as well as Prohibition did. California could close about half of its jails and put up schools in their place.

Women could be helped instead of separated from their kids. Chowchilla is huge and overflowing - largely drugs. (I'm not excluding men - just happen to live very close to Chowchilla, one of, if not the largest women's prison in the country).

Sorry - I'll go rant on my own blog.

Ann (aka granny)
isamericaburning.blogspot.com

I have to type it in because the link takes you to my other blog.

Confusing to say the least.

Grandpa Eddie said...

Ann,
The "War on Drugs should have been aborted years ago. All the prisons around the country would be better off without the overcrowding, police manpower could be used on real crime, fewer homes would be torn apart, and the homicide rate would be reduced....and that's just to name a few things that would be improved.