Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dallas Morning News - Legalize!

I do't know what it is about the new administration. It seems to have changed some attitudes. Or else the troubles in Mexico are giving some people second thoughts about the advisability of prohibition as a solution to the drug "problem".

So how to achieve major reductions in American demand for illegal drugs, as well as the profitability and criminality it fuels?

Seventy-five years after its repeal, Prohibition remains instructive. Like the 13-year ban on alcohol, the illegality of drugs failed to curb demand. Like the bootleggers and gangsterism of that era, today's drug cartels are simply serving popular demand.

As with the repeal of Prohibition, the U.S. must again follow a common-sense approach by thinking the unthinkable: the gradual legalization of some drugs.

For such a change in strategy, the U.S. must recognize that all drugs are not created equal. It is now clear that marijuana and methamphetamines do not have the same harmful effects as cocaine, heroin, opium and other hard drugs. Discriminating among different drugs – as does the new Massachusetts law decriminalizing possession of less than an ounce of marijuana – points the way toward a more rational approach.

At great cost, in blood and treasure, Mexico is fulfilling its responsibility with a war on supply. It's time the U.S. fulfills its responsibility with a real war on demand.
And just who is it giving America advice?
Ambassador Andrés Rozental, former deputy foreign minister of Mexico, is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and may be reached at andres at mexconsult dot com. Stanley A. Weiss is founding chairman of Business Executives for National Security, a nonpartisan Washington-based organization, and may be reached at sweiss at bens dot org.
The Ambassador was being very diplomatic. The only way severely reduce the financing of criminal gangs is to legalize. Everything. Of course it doesn't hurt to start some where and since marijuana is rather well accepted in our society (it takes about 50 years from the wide spread introduction of a new drug into a culture until acceptance) that is probably a good place to start. And another point in his diplomacy? Mexico has a lot of meth labs and is only a transport route for cocaine. You don't suppose he wants cocaine to stay illegal because Mexico would get a commercial advantage? It is ridiculous to even think such thoughts. It is way too cynical to think the drug war is being run for any other but the highest of motives. After all the purpose of drug prohibition is to make it easier for kids to get an illegal drug than for them to get a beer. Right?

H/T Colleen McCool of the Drug Policy Forum of Texas

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