Monday, March 20, 2006

Students will bring drug prohibition to its knees

Kris Krane, SSDP's executive director, had the following great letter to the editor published in today's New York Times.

New York Drug Laws

Published: March 20, 2006

To the Editor

Re "When It Comes to Drug Laws, the Jokes End," by Clyde Haberman (NYC column, March 14):

More than two decades after President Reagan led the nation into a new "war on drugs," the city's special narcotics prosecutor, Bridget G. Brennan, has finally admitted that we can't "incarcerate our way out of the drug problem." Yet few public officials are willing to propose any sensible solutions to this seemingly intractable problem.

It's time for a new direction in drug policy from all levels of government. Increasingly harsh criminal penalties have failed to protect young people from the dangers of drug addiction. No drug known to man becomes less dangerous to the user or society when its production and distribution are left to criminals and cartels.

Violent crimes associated with drug prohibition could be avoided if government would step in and regulate the market.

Kris Krane
Washington, March 15, 2006
The writer is the executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

If you like the work that SSDP does, please consider making a donation today.


kaptinemo said...

This was also in the news: W.House pushes more schools to drug-test students Ms. Kern is mentioned as well as DPA.

800 pound gorilla said...

I'm just wondering out loud. Am I alone in my lukewarm support for marijuana legalization and medical marijuana as a wedge issue to pry the drug laws apart?

The fact is that criminalization does irreparable harm by enabling criminal elements of our society to prey upon the most dysfunctional of individuals. The results are that rampant abuse of catastrophic proportions occur within this dysfunctional group and reverberate among those less dysfunctional individuals. The crime associated with arbitrarily banned substances [I am writing a piece on my blog comparing the CSA with the "pirates' code" of Captain Jack Sparrow] is exacerbated by the high prices of maintaining a drug addiction - that is more likely with the potency and delivery systems promoted by these same criminals. Then with meth there is the added feature of meth houses run by amateurs with no quality control right in the middle of neighborhoods. The panacea for dealing with these scurrilous renters has been to punish the marginally independent owners of these rental houses [would you trash out your house to run a lab?] by passing on costs to them.

The sad fact is that the criminals can only do so much to mess people up using marijuana. The most unhealthy way to take this drug is through smoking and that smoke is not nearly as harmful healthwise as smoked nicotine. Crime among people who use marijuana as their primary social use drug is negligible. The inflated stats that law enforcement provides includes many who not only smoke weed but use other more crime inducive drugs such as alcohol.

We legalize pot and the impact on low income areas in terms of crime and health problems is negligible. We legalize meth and we see crime and severe addiction problems take a major nosedive. Us old farts seem to have some perspective on this. We lived through the times B4 many of these drugs were criminalized and demonized. We know about the problems involved with abuse of regulated drugs with quality control that cater to the general population - not just to the most dysfunctional. Of course, most of us old farts have given up on influencing the criminals who run our drug war - utilizing a variation of the pirates' code to reinforce the illusion that they are protecting society.