U.S. Is on a Lonely Road in Its Drug Policy 

U.S. Is on a Lonely Road in Its Drug Policy 
Posted by FoM on August 29, 2001 at 14:31:56 PT
By Nicolas Eyle, AlterNet
Source: AlterNet
Canada's recent decision to permit the sick access to medical marijuana is just the latest in a long series of refutations by other countries of America's drug policies. It comes on the heels of Portugal's decriminalizing the personal possession of small quantities of all drugs. It follows Mexican President Vincente Fox's call for drug legalization as the way to break the black market. The Conservative Party in Great Britain is arguing heatedly about whether they should decriminalize marijuana, remove penalties for its use or legalize it, which would permit a legal distribution system to be set up, ending the contact marijuana users now have with sellers of harder drugs. All over the world countries are looking at the disastrous results of America's "War on Drugs" and shifting their drug policies to avoid making the same mistakes. 
In fact, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Germany and nearly every other country in Western Europe have some form of decriminalization of personal possession of drugs in place and the results are certainly encouraging others to move in this direction. In the Netherlands, marijuana is sold in hundreds of "coffee shops," over-the-counter and their teenage marijuana use is half of what it is in the U.S. In Switzerland a program to supply hard-core heroin addicts with heroin has been so successful at lowering health-care costs and reducing the crime associated with that drugs use that its biggest and most vocal supporters are the police and the insurance companies. Recently even the Ukraine, long one of Europe's toughest drug warriors, announced that it was going to release some 35,000 drug offenders from prison in September and make drug use "a non-arrestable offense." In the U.S., 9 states have approved medical marijuana use. A recent conference of U.S./Mexico border state governors, organized by New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, agreed that the drug problem should be a public health issue more than a law-enforcement one. Individual counties have gone even farther. Mendicino County California made marijuana offenses the lowest priority possible for law-enforcement. If you are a policeman looking into a possible marijuana crime and a little old lady calls because her cat is stuck in a tree, you have to forget the marijuana and help the cat! America is in an increasingly difficult position internationally because of the drug war. We purport to be the leader of the free world, yet with 5 percent of the world's population, we have 25 percent of the world's prisoners -- more than half serving sentences for drug-related offenses. Our troops, arms and money fuel civil wars in Latin American countries like Colombia in the name of ridding the world of drugs. Many of our cities are in turmoil and minorities are targeted for drug offenses in painfully obvious, unjust proportions. And with all this, American kids have better access to illegal drugs than to beer! So who are our allies in our naive quest for a drug-free America through prohibition? Iran, Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, China and a handful of other notoriously repressive nations. These are allies. These countries execute drug users regularly and have for years. These countries still have large and growing drug problems because, like the U.S., they refuse to accept the fact that prohibition does not work. If the U.S. is serious about protecting it's children from the problems associated with drugs then we had better start looking around us. Look at what other countries are doing and see what works and what doesn't. With adolescent drug use up and drugs purer, cheaper and more available than ever before, it should be obvious to us, as it seems to be to most of the rest of the world, that prohibition is not the way to solve the problem. The U.S. has gone down the wrong road many times in its history. There was a time when women were not allowed to vote, when it was quite permissible for white people to own black people, for segregation to exist. A time when Americans were forbidden to drink alcohol. Fortunately we came to our senses about these things, changed our laws and became a stronger, better country for it. Sociologist Thomas Sowell once said that the difference between a policy and a crusade is that a policy is judged by its results, but a crusade is judged by how good it makes the crusaders feel. It's becoming hard to refer to what we do with regard to drugs in America as a policy. What we have is clearly a Jihad. A holy war with no basis in logic or sense. No interest in results or costs. No concern that the medicine may be far worse than the disease. Why is it so hard for us to see this and reconsider how we handle these drugs in America? Nicolas Eyle is executive director of ReconsiDer: Forum on Drug Policy -- AlterNet (US Web)Author: Nicolas Eyle, AlterNetPublished: August 28, 2001Copyright: 2001 Independent Media InstituteWebsite: Articles:History Has a Habit of Repeating Itself Governments Try and Fail To Stem Drugs Case For Legalisation Time for Puff of Sanity 
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Comment #8 posted by Auto on August 30, 2001 at 23:42:46 PT
I thought it was about time someone came forth with a more reasonable approach than yours dddd.You seem like you might be on the verge of losin' it.
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Comment #7 posted by dddd on August 30, 2001 at 23:38:33 PT
 I appreciate you excellent comments!,,Welcome!,,,dddd
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Comment #6 posted by Patrick on August 30, 2001 at 23:25:11 PT
The answer Nicholas
Is that we are!
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Comment #5 posted by jesse harvey on August 30, 2001 at 18:26:18 PT:
wake up
wake up and smell the M.J .... George W might do you some good.... if the people want to get high let them , its my god given right, to be happy, and free leave us alone already!!!! 
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Comment #4 posted by Dude on August 30, 2001 at 12:07:21 PT
Al Giornado has put up a wonderful article detailing the 1988 UN Drug treaty, and the loopholes that reside there. The article can be found at: author is hoping, like most of us, that the Canada supreme court will negate the Marijuana laws in the near future.
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Comment #3 posted by Pancho on August 29, 2001 at 22:42:46 PT
Boston Freedon Rally 9/15/01
Over 60,000 people will attend the Freedom rally in Boston on September 15, 2001. One of the guest speakers will be Al Giordano, creator of the Narco News web sight, one of the only free and accurate media outlets covering the truth about the War on some Drugs.I invite all those McCaffery, Bennet, Hutchinson, prohibitionists to attend as well. The War was over a long time ago. Perhaps if only our elderly, misguided white politicians, along with those in law enforcement and corrections would smell the flowers instead of their own arses, they would realize this as well.Boston is the birth place of our country and I for one will be in attendance on September 15th to start the next revolution. The one that overthrows the tyrants in power in our so called free country who currently prohibit the consumption of cannabis by responsible tax-paying and voting Americans.Peace,Pancho 
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Comment #2 posted by Auto on August 29, 2001 at 18:39:52 PT
The Drug War...Vietnam War...see the resemblance?
Come on America, Come on George W...Do ya really think the rhetoric of the drug war is really a battle you can win?Do what we did in the Vietnam war....Tell America we won the war, move out, move on and get over it!...Ok? It too can be yet another page in American Bloopers and Blunders.Can't you see that continuing to throw bombs on the problem only makes the problem worse and increases the resistance?People are a lot smarter than you make them out to can spin some of us some of the time, but not all of us all of the time. 
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Comment #1 posted by mayan on August 29, 2001 at 16:40:59 PT
Evil Allies
America's allies in this war on drugs are the most oppressive countries in the world. That fact speaks volumes about the U.S. Government and this bogus war.
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