Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Legalizing Drugs

Leonard Pitts Jr., a columnist that I always read, calls to task our national policy on drugs in his newest column, Let's begin the discussion about legalizing drugs:

Maybe we should legalize drugs.
I come neither eagerly nor easily to that maybe. Rather, I come by way of spiraling drug violence in Mexico that recently forced Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to acknowledge the role America's insatiable appetite for narcotics plays in the carnage. I come by way of watching Olympian Michael Phelps do the usual public-relations song and dance after being outed smoking weed, and knowing the whole thing was a ritualized farce.
. . .
The War on Drugs came into being under President Nixon, whose chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, once quoted the president as saying, "You have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to devise a system that recognizes this all while not appearing to." Small wonder blacks account for 13 percent of the nation's regular drug users, but more than 70 percent of all those jailed for drug use.
. . .
In 1914, when the first federal drug law was enacted, the government estimated 1.3 percent of us were addicted to illegal drugs. In 1970, when the War on Drugs began, the government estimated 1.3 percent of us were addicted to illegal drugs. Thirty-nine million arrests later ... the government says 1.3 percent of us are addicted to illegal drugs. [Emphasis added]
There are a couple of very telling statistics in there:

(1) Over 70% of individuals jailed for drug use are black. And that's in large part due to the fact that the draconian penalties for crack cocaine (primarily used by blacks) have been in stark opposition to the slap-on-the-wrist penalties for rock cocaine (primarily used by upper middle class lawyers, congressmen, etc., of the white race).

(2) In nearly 30 years of arresting and locking away drug users, the addiction rate is the same as it was in 1970, when all this crap started -- and the same as it was in 1914, when drugs were first made illegal. What's that old line about insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? Well, this is it.

So yes, I agree with Pitts. When it comes to so-called "illegal drugs", legalize them, control them and tax them. It would have a positive dual effect on the economy: Increased revenue from the taxation, and decreased outlay for all of those prisons needed to lock up non-violent drug offenders.


Anonymous said...

Parade magazine in 3/29/09 Sunday paper had a big article about prisons in America, did you read that? It was cram packed with stats that were mind blowing... thanx!!!

Farnsworth68 said...

Thanks, anon. It was a great piece by Senator Jim Webb (D-VA), which readers can see here.