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On Just Saying No

From a Washington Post opinion piece and probably one of the best articles I’ve read on drug legalization:

Here is a glimpse of what lies ahead if we fail to end our second attempt to control the personal habits of private citizens. Listen to Enrique Gomez Hurtado, a former high court judge from Colombia who still has shrapnel in his leg from a bomb sent to kill him by the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar.

In 1993, his country was a free-fire zone not unlike Mexico today, and Gomez issued this chilling — and prescient — warning to an international drug policy conference in Baltimore:

“The income of the drug barons is greater than the American defense budget. With this financial power they can suborn the institutions of the state, and if the state resists … they can purchase the firepower to outgun it. We are threatened with a return to the Dark Ages.”

Speaking of Baltimore, here’s David Simon, creator of The Wire, in a recent interview with Bill Moyers:

I would decriminalize drugs in a heartbeat. I would put all the interdiction money, all the incarceration money, all the enforcement money, all of the pretrial, all the prep, all of that cash, I would hurl it, as fast as I could, into drug treatment and job training and jobs programs. I would rather turn these neighborhoods [ghettos] inward with jobs programs. Even if it was the equivalent of the urban CCC, if it was New Deal-type logic, it would be doing less damage than creating a war syndrome, where we’re basically treating our underclass. The drug war’s war on the underclass now. That’s all it is. It has no other meaning.

I tend to disagree with the some of Simon’s argument, which is fairly anti-capitalist (you should watch the whole video), but it just goes to show the breadth of drug legalization support.

  1. Andrew says:

    Great piece, CJ. Thanks for the link. There was also an excellent piece in the SF Chronicle (that doesn’t sound right…) about the subject a couple weeks ago:

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