A couple of news items on the drug war have caught my interest today. One of them from the Market Watch discusses how the current economic situation has made states rethink how they handle Drug Prohibition.
A growing number of states are renouncing some of the long prison sentences that have been a hallmark of the war on drugs and instead focusing on treatment, which once-skeptical lawmakers now say is proven to be less expensive and more effective.In my estimation Drug Rehab is no more effective than prison when it comes to reducing drug use. What it does have going for it is that it is 7 times cheaper (more or less). Of course even cheaper is doing nothing (besides legalizing). But it is hard to change public perceptions on a dime. (It usually takes hundreds of millions of dollars.) After being told for decades "most serious problem in America" it can be wrenching to hear: "and there is nothing we can do about it". Easier to sell "NOT jail, rehab".
Kentucky on Thursday became the latest to make the shift when Gov. Steve Beshear signed into law a measure increasing spending on rehabilitation programs and intensive drug testing. The law also reduces penalties for many drug offenses and may allow some traffickers and users of smaller amounts of drugs to avoid prison.
Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are among those that have pending bills to reduce penalties for drug offenders, in some cases by directing defendants into treatment programs. Similar laws have taken effect in South Carolina, Colorado and New York in recent years.
Which brings me to a story I saw at Libertarian Republican about a marijuana reform advocate being appointed to the New Jersey State Superior Court.
Gov. Christie appoints Marijuana Reform advocate to State Superior CourtEric then quotes from a news report about the person appointed, Michael Patrick Carroll. The really amazing thing about this appointment is that Mr. Carol's opinion on cannabis is a super majority opinion: legalize it for medical use.
"Staunch Conservative" with an obvious libertarian streak
From Eric Dondero:
Libertarian-conservative New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has a very mixed record on marijuana decriminalization. But his latest move may send a wave of cheers among the libertarian wing of the GOP.
Cross Posted at Classical Values