Monday, April 13, 2009

Decriminalization of Drugs

Portugal decriminalized drug use in 2001. Its experience over the past eight years is enlightening and does not support the slippery-slope/panic-inducing scenarios often posited.

Certainly the resources expended by the US on The War on Drugs (tm) would be well-spent on The War on Terror (tm) or simply wisely not spent. The misery inflicted on those ensnared and inprisoned is immense, as is the misery imposed upon their families.

Support for decriminalization seems to be growing in Washington. In addition to ascribing wisdom to America's policy makers, I Googled some related queries. On April 6, 2009, I found the following statistics:

"Politician's son busted for cocaine" 14,300 hits
"Politician's daughter busted for cocaine" 49,400 hits
"Politician's son busted for marijuana" 24,600 hits
"Politician's daughter busted for marijuana" 132,000 hits
"Politician's son busted for heroin" 15,000 hits
"Politician's daughter busted for heroin" 30,000 hits

More busts (or, at least, more articles) on daughters than sons. That's interesting.

It's easy to laugh at hypocrisy but there is real and pointless pain attached to all this. In addition, I am compelled to contemplate the pernicious interaction between police powers and legislative responsibilities here; criminalization gives politicians, prosecutors, police and press powers to extort, as well as enforce.

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