Every now and again I feel the need to advocate for the cause of marijuana de-criminalization (if not outright legalization) if for no other reason than because the arguments bolstering the demonstrably failed, multi-billion dollar “War on Drugs” are so maddeningly hypocritical, irrational, and completely unsupported by pesky facts or evidence of any kind.
Would it be too much to ask that, as Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance suggests, we too might once again have a serious discussion in this country about the issue? There was some hope of that not too long ago back in the dark days of Liberal budget surpluses and near full employment, but quite possibly not now if the posturing of the Harper government’s latest slick anti-drug campaign is any indication of things to come…
From a political perspective, if the Liberals are looking for ways to distinguish themselves from the present regime — presuming they are still actually trying to do that — coming down unequivocally on the side of “liberalization” of our drug policies might well provide them with an issue that would not only help put some significant daylight between the LPC and the hypocritical social “nannyism” of the so-called Conservatives, but may even attract the support of the all-important, but most usually disaffected independents.
From the esteemed travel writer’s website: Rick Steves sees the current prohibition on marijuana as a misguided policy causing more harm to our society than good — much like the Prohibition against alcohol did in the 1930s. In these recent articles and interviews, Rick explains why he believes that, assuming a society measures the effectiveness of its drug policy in harm reduction rather than people locked up, America would be better off decriminalizing marijuana.
Might I suggest that this yet another popular (albeit somewhat contentious) issue the Liberals should be actively promoting as part of whatever the hell their platform might be in some future election… Aside from the moral justification and sensible pragmatism of such a policy shift, if governments are anxiously looking to tap into lucrative new sources of tax revenue in order to reduce the national debt and curtail their annual revenue shortfall, this would be a superlatively logical place to begin prospecting.
Salon columnist and author Glenn Greenwald talks with Reason.TV’s Nick Gillespie about his new Cato Institute policy paper on Portugal’s pathbreaking and hugely successful drug decriminalization program. A somewhat more reserved opinion about the success of the program can be found here.
Most of the second half of the interview concerns Barack Obama’s “disappointing performance” so far on drug policy, executive power, and civil liberties.