Is Our Drug Policy Failing? Don't Ask 

Is Our Drug Policy Failing? Don't Ask 
Posted by FoM on March 29, 2000 at 07:39:46 PT
By James P. Gray
Source: Los Angeles Times
Culture: The drug czar has time for a speech, but no time for crucial questions about the nation's failed war on drugs.   Recently, Gen. Barry McCaffrey, our nation's "drug czar," was invited to Orange County for a debate about drug policy. He said all he had time to do was give a speech and take a few questions. 
  My question was: Many people here in California feel that the federal government is closed-minded, even arrogant, in dealing with medical marijuana. Since Proposition 215, which allowed sick people to use marijuana as medicine if it was recommended to them by a doctor, passed by a large margin in this state, and similar measures have passed in four other states plus the District of Columbia, will you now do what you can to cause the federal government to allow the will of the voters in these states to prevail?   McCaffrey's answer was, in essence, that since in his mind marijuana was not a medicine, the voters in all of these states could pound sand.   Our drug czar has now gone back to Washington. But there remain many other critical questions I want to ask him about our nation's failed war on drugs:   * Have you considered that the enormous problems in countries like Colombia, Peru, Mexico and Afghanistan are really not caused by drugs as such but by drug prohibition? That is to say, the problems come directly from the money obtained from the sale of these drugs. So couldn't we use our intellect, strength and ingenuity to come up with some way of deprofitizing these drugs? This will probably not have any adverse effect upon the availability of these dangerous drugs, even to our children or even to people in prison, because under the present policy the drugs are already fully available. But if we could take the money out of the equation, we wouldn't have to consider sending our nations' troops and treasure down to these countries to fight these unwinnable wars.   * Have you considered that since all neutral studies have shown overwhelmingly that programs of needle exchange for drug-addicted people, which allow a dirty needle and syringe to be exchanged for a clean one with no money changing hands and no questions asked, do not increase drug usage but do greatly reduce the transmission of the AIDS virus, hepatitis C, tuberculosis and other serious diseases both to the drug users as well as to their sexual partners and to the newborns of female drug users? Since these programs have been endorsed by organizations like the American Medical Assn., the Centers for Disease Control, the National Commission on AIDS and the General Accounting Office, as well as by the secretary of Health and Human Services, will the federal government now finally change laws that make these programs illegal?   * Do you know what other countries around the world are doing about these problems? For example, are you aware that Switzerland, in an effort to reduce the harm caused by these dangerous drugs, has implemented pilot programs for drug maintenance in 15 of its cities? These programs allow addicted drug users to have access to low-cost pharmaceutical morphine, heroin and methadone, which can be injected under strict medical supervision in licensed medical clinics. The programs have been so successful in reducing crime in the neighborhoods surrounding the clinics and increasing the health and employment of the clients that more than 70% of the Swiss voters opposed an initiative that would have abolished them. Since reducing crime and increasing general health and employability of our people are good things, why have we not established similar pilot programs in our country?   * Don't you realize that our war on drugs is not working, and that our prohibitionist policies are significantly adding to our problems here in Southern California, as well as around the country and the world? Don't you realize that just because some of us talk about changing our policy does not mean that we condone the use or abuse of these dangerous drugs?   * Finally, since you control a federal budget that has just been increased from $17.8 billion last year to $19.2 billion this year, is asking people like you if we should continue with our nation's current drug policy like a person asking a barber if one needs a haircut?   These are some of the questions I would have asked our country's spokesperson for the status quo, if only he had had the time. James P. Gray Is a Judge of the Superior Court in Orange CountyPublished: Wednesday, March 29, 2000 Copyright 2000 Los Angeles Times Related Articles & Web Site:New Battle Lines for The Drug War We Really Winning The War on Drugs?
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Comment #5 posted by kanabys on March 29, 2000 at 17:56:56 PT
Right ON!!!
Right on Kaptin!!! You alway take the words right outta my mouth. Also, I agree 101% with legalizeit. Good Job!!
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Comment #4 posted by kaptinemo on March 29, 2000 at 17:21:46 PT:
More "S**t and git"
As has been mentioned many times before, the antis are in mortal terror of being cornered and forced into having a rational discussion about their policies. Because they know that they have no real logical, sensible defense for their actions. They greatly fear the citizen who stands up and points out that this particular emperor not only is bare-ass naked, but has leprosy, to boot. If their rationale for the DrugWar could be likened to a fuel tank, it was filled up a long time ago with (never very high octane) Reefer Madness, and is just about empty now. They've used up all the lies they've ever had. Now they are trying to recycle old ones by resurrecting long-discredited studies that were torn to bits by the presenter's academic brethren. They were simply too slipshod and biased to be believed.  In short, Barry is on the skids. His office has practically demanded that we invade Colombia by proxy with our 'lethal aid' (the military brass just love their oxymorons). As any student of history knows, it's easy to get a population distracted by involving it in a foreign war while you do your dirty work behind their backs at home. He's doing this because he has to try to put a smiley face on a report that his own people have issued. A report that says the ONDCP has presided over the biggest reduction in hard drug prices, higher production rates and increased quality. And an increase in the number of hard drug related deaths. All on his watch. Barry knows the bureaucratic knives are out. So he can't afford to give his opportunistic enemies any more ammunition. Which he does anyway, every time he opens his mouth. Which is why Barry has no time for the average citizen; he has to s**t his propaganda and git before someone collars him for making such a mess.  
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Comment #3 posted by legalizeit on March 29, 2000 at 10:22:11 PT
The "drug menace" is McCaffrey and Co.!
McCzar: "Drugsh are a menash to soshiety and nothing you can shay is gonna shtop me!"You, sir, are a menace to humanity! You have already proven in your years as a military combatant that you can kill without remorse, and as "Drug Czar" you continue to kill and imprison the sick and dying without remorse, all the while blaming the "drug menace" which is a product of your own cronies' prohibitionist practices!Shame on you! I hate to wish hardship on anyone, even one as reprehensible as you, but it would be good if you or one of your cohorts got one of these debilitating diseases so you can see firsthand what MMJ can do for you! Then your anti-MMJ drum-beating would change and our country (and others affected) might get some peace from the drug war.
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Comment #2 posted by MMM on March 29, 2000 at 09:55:25 PT
The Drug Czar doesn't trust U.S. citizens...
...and who can blame him? Our country is very young, too large and its people too diverse. That's my hunch on why America is cracking down harder. If people become too complacent, content and happy here, we may not remain the leaders of the industrial world. The sentiment of the country years ago was nationalistic, now we're narcissistic. Smaller, established countries stand to gain by decriminalzation. America isn't really the civilized country we claim to be. Money rules. Lobbyists rule. The Michigan Supreme Court just passed a law that breaks the 4th Amendment. The people vote for medical marijuana and police are breaking down doors of sick people. 
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Comment #1 posted by dddd on March 29, 2000 at 08:28:10 PT
Yes,come to think of it,,,,it is about time someone explained to us the whole thing. Is it asking too much of poor Mr. McAffrey to take,maybe 20 minutes to answer peoples questions?Who the hell else can we ask?........dddd
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