Monday, June 15, 2009

Drug War Failure

Finally, someone over at the NYT has had the courage to call the War on Drugs a failure. It's a blot on their record that they took so long to do so, but at least they are saying something now. The United States has actively ruined millions of lives, wasted billions of dollars that it doesn't have, imprisoned its own citizens at the highest rate in the world, supported terrorism, encouraged the use of unregulated, dangerous street drugs, exported violence to other countries, created a dangerous black market here at home, and restricted the basic freedoms of its citizens in an unjust and arbitrary fashion. And in 40 years of doing all this, it has not made any significant improvements in the rates of drug use in this country.

At this point, the people who most strongly support the War on Drugs are hard-core conservatives who, really, resemble the mullahs in Iran more than the founding fathers, and those who have a vested, financial interest in its continuance; i.e, police unions, prison guard unions, and beer, wine and liquor distributors.

The rest of the country, and indeed the world, is beginning to see the reality. Drugs are not going away. If there is one thing the last 40 years has shown us, it is that they are here to stay. Given that fact, will can:

A. Waste untold billions of dollars and inflict massive harm on people around the world on a war that we clearly cannot win, or,

B. Accept reality and find ways to mitigate the admittedly harmful effects of some drugs, through education and voluntary treatment.

We will look back at this period in 20 years and ask ourselves how could we be so backwards as to imprison people with drug habits. And to those who say, "But it's against the law!", I would reply that it's time for you to think for yourself. If a law is unjust, than work to change it.

In fact, I am advocating jury nullification for all non-violent drug charges, period. If you find yourself on a jury, vote to acquit, no matter how strong the evidence. This is one of the few ways we have left to fight the system. And most importantly, stand up and say what you believe. Don't be ashamed.

I will say right now that I have used illegal drugs. And instead of being ashamed of that, I am ashamed of our country and citizens for abusing my rights and my freedoms.


  1. Just read your comment on the events in Iran. Bravo, well said! Also, check out the June or July 2001 issue of the economist. VERY cogent and strong argument for the legalisation of drugs...

  2. I just saw your comment on Meyrav Wurmser's piece on NYtimes' Room for debate blog.
    Kudos, well said.

  3. Thanks....these are certainly interesting times.

  4. Yes, I liked your comment. The comments were overall very good. I enjoy the comments as much as the editorials. I was mortified by Wurmser's suggestion; I thought she was talking about a completely different event. I am so fascinated by what is going on there I can't stop reading and watching it waiting to see how it unfolds. I think the NYT is deliberately engaging these "experts" (Kristof, Douthat, etc.) because it does get a big response (which is great fun to read).