Drug Debate Not As Taboo

Drug Debate Not As Taboo
Posted by FoM on March 05, 2001 at 20:08:43 PT
By Raymond Rivera, Daily Lobo Columnist
Source: Daily Lobo 
Almost every college student these days remembers hearing these words while watching a Transformers cartoon or the Donahue talk show:“This is your brain (an egg) … this is your brain on drugs … (frying pan with egg sizzling) … any questions?” The comparison of an egg frying in a pan to your brain on drugs was a highly recognized anti-drug commercial. 
And who could forget Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign. All school children in the ’80s and early ’90s were forced to draw “Just Say No” posters for prizes. In 2001, we are hearing a lot about drugs again, but this time it’s a very different message. Just consider that less than 10 years ago, the media hammered then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton for having smoked marijuana but “not inhaling.” In this last presidential election, Al Gore honestly admitted to smoking marijuana and even enjoying the effects. On the other side, George Bush was often questioned about his drug use, which almost certainly included cocaine use in his 20s, and consistently ducked the issue. He only admitted to doing some wilder things in his youth. So why aren’t voters punishing politicians for admitting — or somewhat admitting — to experimenting with drugs? Probably because nobody cares. Well, that may be extreme, but most people don’t see experimenting with drugs as the ultimate evil anymore. If fact, most Americans probably understand where they are coming from because they also have experimented with illegal drugs. Just judging from public reaction, though, attitudes about drugs are changing, especially when we constantly hear that illegal drugs are easier to get than prescription drugs or alcohol. And our almost $50 billion, taxpayer-funded drug war is hopelessly up against an underground drug industry conservatively valued at $400 billion per year. Ultimately, it’s hard to believe that either candidate lost any votes because of the drug issue, but that didn’t make the subject any less prominent. The drug debate pretty much hit the mainstream with our very own governor, Gary Johnson, who bashes the war on drugs at every opportunity. At times he even advocated the outright legalization of many drugs. Since then, numerous media outlets have devoted plenty of time and articles to the drug debate. Professors, bureaucrats, elected politicians and average citizens are seriously dealing with the questions about illegal drugs and our nation’s drug policies. Are we spending too much money on a losing battle? Should people have the right to do some drugs, legally, in the comfort of their home? Can we afford to send minor drug offenders to our already overcrowded jails? Is the war on drugs working? Well, Johnson has already made a number of public statements about some of these questions. As written on his State of New Mexico Web site, “For the amount of money that we are putting into the war on drugs, I want to suggest that it its an absolute failure.”That’s a pretty bold statement considering the United States has been spending nearly $50 billion in tax dollars every year for decades trying to keep America drug-free. His statement also comes at a time when our government is sending money and military support to help Colombia fight its drug war and stem the supply. One idea is to just stop fighting the drug war and to make some illegal drugs a government-regulated controlled substance then tax it, much like alcohol today. While even 10 years ago this idea would have seemed outrageous, a lot of people these days are more open-minded to more options and ideas about drugs. To be sure, the debate will rage on and elected politicians will probably be slow to react. As Johnson has admitted in his self-determined pursuit for a new drug policy, “This (issue) is an absolute zero. Politically, for anybody holding office, for anybody that aspires to hold office.” Johnson is definitely speaking his mind, regardless of political aspirations. It’s worth noting, however, that Johnson doesn’t always practice what he preaches. He’s vetoed millions of dollars for drug treatment and education, and has been the state’s biggest cheerleader of the private prison industry, which depends on a steady stream of non-violent drug offenders to pad the bottom line.I’ll admit that legalizing drugs is a bold policy step, so, for now, I just hope our elected officials have the guts to talk about a new drug policy. Surprisingly, the New Mexico Legislature has decided to be brave enough to tackle the hot issue. At least three bills in the Legislature right now deal with either the medical use of marijuana or some form of decriminalization. It’s good that New Mexico is taking the lead on a national issue like such as this. Without a doubt, people have already started the grassroots debate, “grass” being the operative word …Source: Daily Lobo (NM) Author: Raymond Rivera, Daily Lobo ColumnistPublished: Monday, March 05, 2001Copyright: 2001 Daily Lobo, University of New MexicoContact: lobonews Website Related Article: Medical-Marijuana Bill Goes To Senate Articles - Governor Gary Johnson
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Comment #1 posted by J.R. Bob Dobbs on March 06, 2001 at 03:43:08 PT
Well, at least the obligatory pun is at end
>>Ultimately, it’s hard to believe that either candidate lost any votes because of the drug issue,  How about the disenfranchised ex-felons the drug war produces? They're overwhelmingly black, due to the racist nature of the drug war. They would have overwhelmingly voted Democrat. And there's sure a lot of them in Florida.  Speaking of a candidate losing votes over the drug war, check out the UK's Ann Whitticomb...
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