A war on people that
shirk, evade, circumvent,
avoid or otherwise attempt to
"People know the drug war has failed."- Tom
"The drug war has failed because it defines any use of an
illegal drug as abuse in need of treatment,
The drug war has been building for almost 100 years.
It began with the flawed logic of
engineers such as Richmond Pearson Hobson and
Harry Jacob Anslinger to
punish anyone who used or sold drugs they didn't like.
As the situation
Rockefeller, Richard Nixon
and then Ronald
Reagan escalated the war.
Academics predicted failure but were
ignored." - John Chase
the government going to
learn that it can not police drug abuse when it is
a symptom of a sick society?"
M. Levine MD
"It's been corporate policy
for at least 18 years that every new hire excrete on command while a
rubber-gloved nurse waits outside with her ear plastered to the door.
Those who test
positive for illegal drugs don't get their promised job, on grounds that
someone who can't stay off the stuff long enough to pass a one-time,
advance-notice screening might have a problem.
This despite the fact
that we generally don't operate machinery heavier than a coffee pot, aren't
likely to sell our secrets to blackmailing Russkies and are supposed to be at
least theoretically representative of typical Americans.
what? The typical American - and just about every journalist I've ever asked -
has already tried marijuana at least once before the age of 25, according to
the government's National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
despite 35 years and billions of dollars worth of taxpayer financed propaganda
to the contrary, most of those who've inhaled didn't collapse through the
"gateway" into desperate
Heroin addiction or "Traffic"style sex
slavery." - Matt Welch
"I started in the war on drugs at the very
I worked the first 14 years undercover.
followed the war on drugs ever since.
When I retired I felt bad about
my role in implementing what today I consider an unjust war on drugs.
The war on drugs was coined and forged by
Richard Nixon in 1968.
As the federal funding started pouring in, we went from a seven-man
unit to a 76-person bureau of narcotics.
When you increase any
organization by 11 times overnight, you set up a great deal of expectations,
and since cops are judged mainly on the number of arrests they make, the
expectation was that in the coming year we'd arrest at least 11 times as many
people for non-violent drug offense as we did the year before.
supposed to arrest drug users: Not an easy job in 1970 for several reasons.
First, we didn't really have much of a drug problem in 1970.
Those of us old enough to look back to those times, we know the main
problem was soft drugs: marijuana,
mushrooms, LSD - the mind-altering
We targeted young folks, folks in high school or college or in
between, little friendship groups, because there were no drug dealers.
Our bosses didn't know how to fight a
war on drugs, which was a
But they knew one thing:
They knew how to work that federal
So they had to make the
war on drugs look like it was an
We started arresting everybody we could put our
I infiltrated a group of maybe 15 young people.
Friday night, school's out, work's out, somebody'd say "You wanna get
And a few people would take them up on that, and of course I was
always there to take them up on that.
One of the friends who happened
to have access to the family car could go and get drugs - because I was
working the suburbs and there just were no drugs in the suburbs; you had to go
to New York City to get them - and he'd ask what do you want?
person says get me a couple joints, one says get me some acid, and when they
came to me I'd put my order in too, for this tiny bit of substance.
hour later they'd come back and hand this stuff out to their friends.
And when they handed it to me they became a big-time drug dealer.
And I would stay in that group until I got everybody in the group.
Which was easy because whoever made the run before didn't want to do it
again; they weren't even getting gas money.
These were just young
people accommodating each other.
In 2002 I sat down with four other
police officers and we decided we were going to try and do something.
We decided first - what should law enforcement people be trying to do?
We boiled it down to the very essence - we were interested in reducing
the incidence of death, disease, crime and addiction.
And sadly, folks,
all four of those categories are just made infinitely worse by the war on drugs
We decided we wanted to end drug prohibition, just like we
ended alcohol prohibition in 1933.
As law enforcement we knew that the
very day after we ended that terrible law, Al Capone and all his smuggling
buddies were out of business.
They were no longer out on the streets,
killing each other to try and control that lucrative business.
were no longer killing us cops trying to fight that useless war.
were no longer killing our children caught in crossfire and drive-by shootings:
all the things we have today.
We knew that if we came up with a system
of legalized regulation of drugs today we could take all the violence out of
All of it.
And if we treated drug abuse we could
actually start helping these people instead of destroying their lives.
We've already spent more than a trillion dollars on the war on drugs,
And what do we have to show for that money?
the way, it's $69 billion more every year that we'll throw down the same
After 37 years we've made over 38 million arrests for
non-violent drug offenses.
We've quadrupled the number of people in our
prisons in a twenty-year period.
We've made building prisons the
fastest-growing industry in the US.
Despite all this money spent, and
all these lives destroyed, today drugs are cheaper, they're more potent and
they're easier for our children to access than they were in 1970 when I started
buying them as an undercover agent.
In 1969 you could count the number
of arrests for non-violent drug offenses in the tens of thousands.
first year when we started this campaign that number went up to 415,000.
If we were doing anything to interdict drugs, the price would go up,
not down, right?
The supply would go down, not up.
when I was a young trooper in 1970, kicking down doors and executing search
warrants a good seizure for a local cop might be an ounce of cocaine or a
quarter-ounce of Heroin.
Look at what we're seizing today.
In 2002, in a single seizure
we seized ten tons of
in another single seizure 20 tons of
That's a failed policy, with unintended
consequences any way you look at it." - Jack Cole, 26 year veteran New
Jersey State Police, executive director of Law Enforcement Against
"Nonviolent drug use represents the largest
increase in our prison population since the so-called war on drugs began under
all need to pay attention to the fact that our prisons are built and run by
private corporations, and that this has been among the fastest growing, most
profitable industries." - Lillian Laskin
"From the farmers' point of view, cannabis is an
easy crop to grow and will yield from three to six tons per acre on nearly any
land including marginal lands.
Cannabis has a short growing season, so
that it can be planted after other crops are in.
Cannabis can be grown
in any state of the union.
The long roots penetrate and break the soil
to leave it in perfect condition for the next year's crop.
shock of leaves, eight to twelve feet about the ground, chokes out weeds.
Two successive crops are enough to reclaim land that has been abandoned
because of Canadian thistles or quack grass." - Jack Herer
"Marijuana makes up 60 to 70% of the Mexican drug
trade and lifting prohibitions on it in the United States would eradicate a
major source of funds for the cartels."- Radley Balko"Prohibition is a drain on the
Federal, state and local governments spend roughly $44
billion per year to enforce drug prohibition.
These same governments
forego roughly $33 billion per year in tax
revenue they could collect from legalized drugs, assuming these were taxed
at rates similar to those on alcohol and
Under prohibition, these
revenues accrue to traffickers as increased profits." - Jeffrey Miron,
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