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Former President Jimmy Carter adds his voice to many other police chiefs, health professionals, military analysts, and an international Blue Ribbon Commission urging the United States to Call Off the Global Drug War.   The so called "war on drugs" is really a 'war on drug users", which is not only destroying the lives of those needing medical and mental health care, but is also corrupting foreign police forces, and governments, as well, as creating and funding, a vast criminal infrastructure that represents a growing threat to US national security.  

As I reported here on June 1, in War on Drugs has Failed says Global Commission, Governments Should Explore Legalization this global commission included "the former presidents or prime ministers of five countries, a former secretary general of the United Nations, human rights leaders, and business and government leaders, including Richard Branson, George P. Shultz and Paul A. Volcker."

In a New York  Times, op-ed, former President Carter writes:

The report describes the total failure of the present global antidrug effort, and in particular America’s “war on drugs,” which was declared 40 years ago today. ... Not only has this excessive punishment destroyed the lives of millions of young people and their families (disproportionately minorities), but it is wreaking havoc on state and local budgets.

Its primary recommendations are to substitute treatment for imprisonment for people who use drugs but do no harm to others, and to concentrate more coordinated international effort on combating violent criminal organizations rather than nonviolent, low-level offenders.

President Carter reminds us that he made the same recommendations in 1977.

In a message to Congress in 1977, I said the country should decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, with a full program of treatment for addicts. I also cautioned against filling our prisons with young people who were no threat to society, and summarized by saying: “Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.” ...

Carter points out that the Reagan military and police interdiction approach to the "drug problem" has been 'a terrible escalation in drug-related violence, corruption and gross violations of human rights in a growing number of Latin American countries."  Carter fails to mention that we've also corrupted many Latin American countries beyond the reach of democracy.

Carter, also notes, that few countries will be looking to the United States for advice as our


Drug policies here are more punitive and counterproductive than in other democracies, and have brought about an explosion in prison populations. At the end of 1980, just before I left office, 500,000 people were incarcerated in America; at the end of 2009 the number was nearly 2.3 million. ... a higher portion than in any other country and seven times as great as in Europe. Some 7.2 million people are either in prison or on probation or parole — more than 3 percent of all American adults! ...

And the single greatest cause of prison population growth has been the war on drugs, with the number of people incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses increasing more than twelvefold since 1980.

President Carter's best new idea to add to these growing calls to end this insane war on American drug users, is to propose a special tax on the wealthiest American to pay for it. After noting that in 2010, over 11% of California’s state budget went to prison, while only 7.5% went to education.  

Maybe the increased tax burden on wealthy citizens necessary to pay for the war on drugs will help to bring about a reform of America’s drug policies. At least the recommendations of the Global Commission will give some cover to political leaders who wish to do what is right.

President Carter notes that he worked side by side with a group of prison inmates who were learning the building trades as part of their work-release program.  "They were intelligent and dedicated young men, each preparing for a productive life after the completion of his sentence. "More than half of them were in prison for drug-related crimes, and would have been better off in college or trade school."

This is so tragic it breaks my heart to imagine how we are destroying so many young lives, for such stupid reasons.  

We Should Demand That Present Obama Pardon All Non-Violent Drug Offenders.

I would go farther than former President Carter.  President Obama, should pardon all non-violent drug offenders, immediately.  He does not need agreement from the Republicans to do this. And, it could save us an enormous amount of money and symbolize his willing to demonstrate the courage to do the right thing.

President Obama should also instruct the Attorney General, and his Drug Czar to stop federal prosecution of non-violent marijuana users, and federal raids

It cost $50,000/year per person to foolishly, and cruelly, incarcerate young people for non-violent drug offenses.  If we freed the approximately 1 million nonviolent drug offenders out of the 2.3 million US prisoners now incarcerated we could save $50 billion a year.

Ask, yourself the question this way.  Would you rather pay to have 1 million non-violent drug offenders in jail, or maintain our Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other social programs.

How can we take any politicians complaining about budget deficits, or anything else seriously, if they do not act immediately to correct this outragous and tragic squandering our American's lives.  

In a country that does not provide minimally adequate mental and other health care, it is immoral to incarcerated people for attempts at self-medication.

How infuriating and disgraceful is it for politicians to tell us we can not afford to maintain our foundational commitments to our Democratic Party's best programs for the poor, needy, and elderly, when we squander money like this to destroy young people's lives.

And, these are not criminals, except for the luck of the draw, President Obama, President Bush, or President Clinton, could have all ended up in prison, and lost their access to Federal College loans.

Let's end this cruel, racists, classist, and self-destructive insanity immediately.  

Originally posted to Progressive Policy Zone on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 03:40 PM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

Poll

Will you join me in urging President Obama to pardon all non-violent drug offenders now?

66%51 votes
27%21 votes
3%3 votes
1%1 votes
1%1 votes
0%0 votes

| 77 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

    •  Some visual inspiration (5+ / 0-)

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 04:38:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Looks almost like an heirloom sativa (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog, dewley notid, Ana Thema

        Almost.

        The yellowing tips? Excess nitrogen and not enough phosphorous?

        Flush the pots first.

        An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics - Plutarch

        by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 05:00:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ha, do I detect expert knowledge? (0+ / 0-)

          Photobucket

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 05:12:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The Internet Lies are (0+ / 0-)

            .. "abundant."

            It's outdoors, Ya know?

            27.6% THC even if it's as advertised is a genetically deficient plant just doing the math.
            Too many downsides to be viable even if the numbers weren't corrupt. We need William Morris to fix the problem.

            Metal Halide.

            An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics - Plutarch

            by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 09:22:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  HoundDog (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            HoundDog

            Great diary & I jumped in to inspire others.
            Here`s one plant with hundreds of buds, in my back yard.
            I break down the branches & tie them down with bricks for a better yield. There are more images if you click on this one.

             ONE PLANT DSCN0400

            I`m already against the next war.

            by Knucklehead on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 10:51:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Wow, that's amazing. How did you get it to grow (0+ / 0-)

              so wide?

              The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

              by HoundDog on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 06:43:56 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  HoundDog (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                HoundDog

                It`s just how I grow them.
                By breaking down the branches up the trunk, pulling them carefully away & tying them down with bricks, the plant starts to grow outwards rather than straight up.
                It allows sunlight into the interior of the plant & lets buds grow upwards from each branch.
                This one was a prize winner though.
                I loved showing it off to my grower friends, but all my non-grower friends thought it was amazing also.
                Some wondered what were all the bricks about, so I told them if the pot is too potent it gets intrinsically high & might even lift off & float away.

                Have you checked other images in the set of this plant?

                I`m already against the next war.

                by Knucklehead on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 11:42:53 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  HoundDog (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                HoundDog

                In this image you can see a branch starting from the right of the white string, & curved over to the left then straight up, opening the center of the plant up for other branches to be treated similarly.
                To get "bricks", you need bricks.

                DSCN1886

                I`m already against the next war.

                by Knucklehead on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 11:51:06 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Do you continuously harvest these are is it an (0+ / 0-)

                  all at once kill the plant operation?

                  The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

                  by HoundDog on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 01:01:53 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  HoundDog (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    HoundDog

                    All my plants are a "Kill at once" operation.
                    The trick is to stagger the planting dates, so I`m not overwhelmed at harvest time. Many of my friends are indoor growers & they do likewise, but have crops growing year round.
                    I am only committed to outdoors, so I have only one yearly crop, with harvest spread out by about a month.
                    That gives me time to dry & trim.
                    I also rarely smoke the stuff anymore, but my wife does, & now tends to most of the grows.
                    If it makes her happy, I`m happy.
                    I like to eat her pastries made with our homemade "green" butter. From consumer reports, it is some of the best edibles out there, & I absolutely concur.

                    I`m already against the next war.

                    by Knucklehead on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:28:06 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  The only reason I am not blind. NT (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog

        My Country Tis of Thee sweet land of Secrecy of thee I sing

        by hangingchad on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 08:28:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Jimmy Carter tells us the truth (21+ / 0-)

    Plutocracy too long tolerated leaves democracy on the auction block, subject to the highest bidder ~ Bill Moyers

    by Lefty Coaster on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 03:46:25 PM PDT

  •  President Obama isn't making any such pardon. (9+ / 0-)

    Certainly not before the 2012 elections.  You think he'd risk a Willie Horton moment?

    Our biggest hurdle in ending the War on Drugs is getting Democratic messaging in order, and unfortunately, many Democrats fear being labeled "weak on crime."

    Americans have a distorted view of drugs, a cynical view of drug users, and an authoritarian-complex to punish lawbreakers.  They don't see the prison sentences as unjust, they fallback on the logical fallacy of "those people won't be arrested if they just followed the law."  Look at any given diary about something as obvious and necessary as marijuana legalization, and you'll see myriad comments by people here -- people who should already get it -- regurgitating Reefer Madness propaganda.

    We absolutely need to hold Democrats feet to the fire on this; I just wish I knew what the recipe for success was.  Even this President -- an admitted user of marijuana and cocaine in his youth -- still tows the DEA's line.  How could he possibly not know that marijuana should be descheduled?  How could he possibly not know the effect of our drugs policies have had on the Chicago communities that he helped organized?

    Hopefully this move by Carter helps puts some momentum on the issue.  The argument he made here:

    In a message to Congress in 1977, I said the country should decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, with a full program of treatment for addicts. I also cautioned against filling our prisons with young people who were no threat to society, and summarized by saying: “Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.”

    was clear and concise.  In 1977.  Clinton was a marijuana user, but these words from '77 had no effect on his policies.  Bush used coke and marijuana, but he obviously couldn't be counted on to be an advocate.  And then we have President Obama.  Politically, he can't make a full on assault against the War on Drugs, but he could start setting up the framework.

    Drug reform is often dismissed as "low-hanging fruit."  When there's unemployment and wars, who wants to talk about drugs?  We need to start framing the issue on multiple levels.  From what it does to our citizenry, to the inflation of our budget, drug reform needs to be framed in a way that can't be easily dismissed as inconsequential.

    ---
    I look at you all; see the love there that's sleeping. - G.H.
    I really love a lot, but I fight the one's that fight me. - M.I.A.

    by hey mister on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 04:04:58 PM PDT

    •  You may be right about what Obama will do, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hey mister, atdnext, Knucklehead

      but that should not stop us for doing the right thing, and offerring some home to the mother, fathers, brother, and sistes, wive, and husbands, children, and others watching their loved ones languish and being harmed in prisons across our nation.

      These politicies are racist, classist, cruel, inhumane, unjust, unwise, unaffordable, and wrong in every way.

      Shame on any politicians, and political "leader" who plays political games, while Americans are being harmed.

      And, we are cutting back social programs so we can spend vast amounts of money to do these stupid things, hey mister?

      My sense of humor has run out on this issue.

      30 to 40 years ago former President Carter encouraged us to take actions to improve these policies, tried to get a just two-state solution in the middle east, tried to get us to conserve energy, and break our crippling dependence on foreign oil, and we've done nothing really.

      We can not afford to continue to be this stupid.  Our economy and finances were much stronger then.

      Now, emerging economies in China, and India are threatening to leave us in the dust, clutching our own stupidity.  

      We are becoming a banana republic and few will have sympathy for us, as we are doing it to ourselves.

      Our "wars on communism" and everything else pathologically project our enemies as external forces.

      When will folks notice that the only enemy strong enough to bring ourselves down, is ourselves, and we are consistently undermining our own common good, and national security by failing to be smart, wise, and use common sense.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 04:26:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don't get me wrong, I agree with you. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog
        that should not stop us for doing the right thing, and offerring some home to the mother, fathers, brother, and sistes, wive, and husbands, children, and others watching their loved ones languish and being harmed in prisons across our nation.

        These politicies are racist, classist, cruel, inhumane, unjust, unwise, unaffordable, and wrong in every way.

        Shame on any politicians, and political "leader" who plays political games, while Americans are being harmed.

        We're in absolute agreement on the matter, but I think that in order to be successful, we have to build up to demanding that all non-violent drug users be  pardoned.  In order for that goal to be reached, we have a lot of work to undo decades of conservative messaging.  The public isn't on our side of the debate, and they're going to immediately dismiss any call to pardon drug offenders.

        Unfortunately, we have to contend with marijuana advocates who work against us.  "420" slogans and other stoner-talk creates more harm than good, and are an easy tool for our opponents to use against the seriousness of the issue we're trying to address.  We have to contend with pro-War on Drugs messaging that comes from very well-funded religious groups, private prison corporations, tobacco and alcohol lobbies, let alone their Republican co-conspirators.  Any movement on our part has to have an arm that reaches out to the otherwise apolitical "stoner" crowd and find out how to kindly get them to STFU.

        And that's pot.  I have no idea how we're supposed to make a case for victims of the system who use narcotics.  We need to define a strong platform that treats addiction as a health concern and not a character flaw.  We need to replace prison sentences with treatment centers.  Many states do this for the first or second offense, but by the third, the victim of addiction is turned into a felon.

        It'll be interesting to see if this marks an issue of urgency for President Carter, or if it's just a one-time event.

        ---
        I look at you all; see the love there that's sleeping. - G.H.
        I really love a lot, but I fight the one's that fight me. - M.I.A.

        by hey mister on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 05:07:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Start by framing it as a boondoggle. (6+ / 0-)
      Drug reform is often dismissed as "low-hanging fruit."  When there's unemployment and wars, who wants to talk about drugs?  We need to start framing the issue on multiple levels.  From what it does to our citizenry, to the inflation of our budget, drug reform needs to be framed in a way that can't be easily dismissed as inconsequential.

      Especially considering our current economic situation, we just can't afford to throw money down the drain incarcerating people who didn't do anything that many of the very people in power today haven't admitted to doing. (Their only difference was that they were caught doing it by the police.)

      Certainly not before the 2012 elections.  You think he'd risk a Willie Horton moment?

      Our biggest hurdle in ending the War on Drugs is getting Democratic messaging in order, and unfortunately, many Democrats fear being labeled "weak on crime."

      I understand where you're coming from on this. Obama doesn't want to risk losing the next election over being "soft on crime", but he eventually has to address this if he's serious about "making government more efficient". How is throwing all these people in prison just because they smoked some weed "efficient"?

      •  Yes, I think he could make it work to his (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        atdnext, hey mister, neroden

        advantage by showing he has courage, vision, passion, and actually tries to do the right thing.

        And, has pressed every progressive power he has without waiting for obstructionist GOP permission.

        Even many Democrats admired Ronald Reagans willingness to fight for what he beleived in.

        Too many suggest Democrats don't beleive in anything but getting reelected.  Here we could show them they are wrong.

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 04:41:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly. We already told Obama to DTRT (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog, bobsc, wabird

      (do the right thing).  He has no intention of doing so.

      GOD.  Remember when Obama set up that website to ask for ideas from the American public?  A Number One was "legalize and tax cannabis".  Reaction: shut down the website.

      That's Obama all the way.

      Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

      by neroden on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 05:19:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If it's Not a Crime, You're Not Soft on Crime (0+ / 0-)

      I agree that proper framing of the issue is essential to advancing the cause of ending the so called War on Drugs.  Which is why it should be painted first and foremost as an issue of basic human rights.

      That seems to have worked well when it comes to advancing causes on behalf of oppressed people that - a generation ago - didn't appear to stand a chance.

      "What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love and Understanding?" Nick Lowe

      by LHB on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:23:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, yeah, of course. (0+ / 0-)

        But up until the law is off the books, drug possession is a crime and the "soft on crime" attack will be used by our political opponents.

        ---
        I look at you all; see the love there that's sleeping. - G.H.
        I really love a lot, but I fight the one's that fight me. - M.I.A.

        by hey mister on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 02:33:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is one of the areas where I am disappointed (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobsc, atdnext, HoundDog

    in the Obama Administration policies, even though they're better than the previous ones.

    It's not enough, and Dems better get working on this big-time during Obama's second term.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 04:13:24 PM PDT

    •  Um, they are arguably worse (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neroden, hey mister, HoundDog, Knucklehead, pot

      Obama broke his promise about raiding medical MJ clinics, and at one point ESCALATED federal action against same.  He broke a promise.  Bush never made such a promise.  

      Obama is a joke on the WOD.  When questioned about legalizing MJ he literally laughed.

      Otoh, most of the progress is being made, and imo wqill continue to be made at the state level.  that's where we've seen decrim, medical MJ etc. passed.

      It's just a matter of time before a state legalizes MJ.  Nevada came close.

      And fwiw, I think MJ is lame as fuck and I don't think threads on ending the drug war should be equated with being pro-MJ.  I am not "pro" MJ.  I think it's fucking lame.  But it shouldn't be illegal.

      •  I'm there with you. (3+ / 0-)

        Cannabis actually was really really bad for at least four people I know.  It's quite dangerous to people who have preexisting familial tendencies towards mental illness.

        But it's nowhere near as dangerous as tobacco.  And making it illegal does the following things:
        (1) it makes it MORE popular
        (2) it makes it more profitable for criminal distributors
        (3) it makes it harder to control its contents and so forth, making it more dangerous
        (4) it makes people disrespect the law in general, because this law is clearly ridiculous and not worth respecting (there are so many other examples of that now, including copyright law, patent laws on software, the "prosecutorial immunity" rule, etc., that it's not funny any more, it's part of the decline of the entire system of laws in the country)
        (5) it makes a convenient pretext for discriminatory enforcement and harassment.

        There are a lot of bad things which should be legal.  Almost all drugs fall in this category.

        Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

        by neroden on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 05:24:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Excellent points neroden. Excellent points. (0+ / 0-)

          Even people who hate every aspect of it should even favor decriminalization, for purely Machiavellian advantages.

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 07:03:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Good point about the Presidents (12+ / 0-)

    who, if they were caught, could have had their futures destroyed.

    This "war on drugs" is simply an obscenity, the lives ruined for no good reason too many to count.  There's no telling how much it has cost our nation, simply by consigning known "users" to the trash heap.  There has been so much wasted potential.

    I was never a user, but as a college student in the seventies, I knew so very many who were.  With one exception, none of them were "caught" and they are, as a result, professionals who have enjoyed rich, rewarding, and remunerative careers.  The other guy?  Not so much.  He has a record.  But he was as bright and as motivated as the rest.

    If someone had told me then that this benighted crusade woud still be going on forty years later, I would not have believed him.  At the time, we appeared to be going forward, not backward.

    •  It also weakens a citizens willingness to (7+ / 0-)

      obey laws when so those are unenforceable in any meaningful unilateral way. To piecemeal punish only those unlucky enough to get caught in such a cavalier and abyssmal way is truly INJUSTICE. The only ones who benefitted from the war on drugs were the cartels and the gangs. Too many died as they sought like the CEOs of any corporation to protect their market share and their outrageous profits.

      Fear is the Mind Killer

      by boophus on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 05:05:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What does it do to the legitimacy of our "social (7+ / 0-)

        contract" theory when over 80 millions Americans have used illegal drugs sometime in their lives making a sizable fraction of our adult population criminals.

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 05:15:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Excellent point, boophus. The corrosive impact (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        boophus, LHB, Kentucky DeanDemocrat

        this war on American drugers are incalculable, but real.

        For the 80 million people who've tried Marijuan, and even more if you include abuse of prescription pill, every sight of a policemen must strike fear, or contempt in their hearts.

        When I first came to Boston, after leaving my first year of Cornell, I witnesses two Boston police offcers pistal club a black youth, into while he was face down on the pavement while he was handcuffed after a several block long chase, after the black youth had apparently tried to rob a liquer store on Boyleston Sreet.

        I was really upset about it, but didn't even think of filing a report given that my housemate had pot in the house.

        Friends of mine, who had long Hippie length hair had pot planted on them in the mid - 1970s by police of Ocean City, or one of those popular family New Jersey shore resort towns that did not wnat "long-haired hippies" spoiling the ambience for regular new Jersey working class families for whom that city had become a multi-generational tradition.

        For my generation, even if you didn't use drugs you learned that the police are not your friends, and protectors, but predatory, and dangerous vultures, that should be avoided at all costs.

        Untrustable, and if you were a vitim of a crime, it would be better not to mention it, than to risk becoming the object of police attention.

        And, I was like a pillar of society, not a member of some marginal group of neer-do-wells, you might be imagining.  

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 07:17:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I am hoping President Carter's call can help (9+ / 0-)

    us move this issue to a higher priority in the Democratic Party, and the budget aspects can maybe even pick up some Republican support for immediate action.

    The $50 billion/year is just my estimate of incarceration costs.

    I believe enforcement costs are just as high and maybe higher if you include internationally military efforts, and state budgets.

    But, I get the feeling we still face challenges that many in our own Party do not really think we will do anything about this.

    Which is bad for our moral.  Some of our economic problems may not have easy solutions, but, the problems of destructive drug laws, should be easy to fix.

    Except too many see our repeated calls and think, "Oh look, isn't it cute, (annoying, embarrassing, etc), "our Daily Kos potheads are saying 'it high time we legalized pot.' "

    But, we are savaging millions of young peoples, and their families lves in this tragic, and counter-productive effort.

    And, our continued failure to fix such an easy to fix problems, due to political calculus that is probably incorrect anyway, is demoralizing many who are increasingly seeing all of our politicians as cowardly weasels, or worse.

    Imagine if one of your loved ones was imprisoned for smoking dope, when three former Presidents did it with no repercussions?

    And, you watched you child, brother, sister, parent, or other loved on languish in prision, while politicians do nothing.

    And, our current Democratic Drug Czar is still hassling medical marijuana clinics in states which have endorsed it.

    This is demoralizing and not good.

    President Obama and our Democratic leaders could improve some of their progressive credibility problems, if he, and they,  would show more courage and leadership in this tragic area of self-inflicted wounds.

    Not even to mention how immoral it is to incarcerate people for attempts to self-medicate in a society that provids inadequate mental and other health care.

     

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 04:14:36 PM PDT

    •  I'm generally pretty supportive of the President, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog, hey mister, neroden, Knucklehead

      but this is one area where he's not keeping up with the times and not being progressive enough.  Although I do think that states now have far more leeway to make their own decisions than they had under the Bush Regime, it's just not enough.

      In fact, a huge opportunity to counteract carbon emmissions in a big way by using hempcrete is being missed mainly because of this stupid war on drugs.

      And don't even get me started on how wrong it is to jail or otherwise punish people for growing their own pot.... growing one's own plants for nutritional or medicinal purposes is a basic human right in my book.

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 04:45:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Such an important issue (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LHB, HoundDog, Russgirl

      How is it possible that all 535 members of Congress are afraid to say that the emperor is quite obviously naked. This is such an obvious travesty, and no one in power is able to take it on?

      So the question is... Who benefits from the war on drugs? If the war on drugs ends, who will be the losers?

      Insanity... Maybe when the rate of incareration reaches 10%, and the total cost of incarceration for drug crimes exceeds the amount we spend on DoD, then people will begin to take notice.

      Can't we sell this as a fiscally responsible policy? Or something?

    •  HoundDog (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog

      Amazing comment.

      I`m already against the next war.

      by Knucklehead on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 11:06:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We just can't afford this madness. (7+ / 0-)
    Drug policies here are more punitive and counterproductive than in other democracies, and have brought about an explosion in prison populations. At the end of 1980, just before I left office, 500,000 people were incarcerated in America; at the end of 2009 the number was nearly 2.3 million. ... a higher portion than in any other country and seven times as great as in Europe. Some 7.2 million people are either in prison or on probation or parole — more than 3 percent of all American adults! ...

    And the single greatest cause of prison population growth has been the war on drugs, with the number of people incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses increasing more than twelvefold since 1980.

    This is why California now has a crisis on its hands... Especially now that the US Supremes told them to take care of their overcrowding problem, or else. We in Nevada probably aren't far behind, especially since one of our biggest prisons is old and dilapidated and simply can't handle any more inmates. And I know even more states are facing the same problem.

    The War on Drugs failed us. We can't deny that reality any more. And the longer we wait to quit this costly and dangerous habit, the more tax dollars we'll waste.

    •  Agreed, atdnext, How sad. History will not be (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      atdnext

      kind to our generation of political leaders in this regard.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 04:29:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I understand it costs about $30000 a year for (4+ / 0-)

      each prisoner minimum. My republican neighbor and I got into a argument because even though we had been burgled I didn't want to lock anyone up at the cost of $30k a year for stealing like $300 in stuff. We just simply put our car in the garage and locked our gates.  THen after they are released they are tarred with 'Ex-Con' label and more likely to commit futher crimes.

      Besides if drugs were legal they would be cheaper and safer. There wouldn't be turf wars for zinger profits... The CIA would have some of it's slush funds stripped...Some of the HUMONGOUS monies saved could be used to provide treatment and for ad programs like the anti- smoking ones (pocketbook & health not someone elses judgment of others life style choices). Pass laws about driving under the influence of any chemical including LEGAL drugs which is a whole other side...

      Save states billions and strip the budding private prison slavery racket of state contracts. Lock up the violent for longer periods and maybe have some better treatment (use some of the money saved)of making sure they don't repeat on the outside... Save the lives of those who can be even after making mistakes.

      Fear is the Mind Killer

      by boophus on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 04:59:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would 100% disagree with you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wu ming

        NOBODY should be locked up for using drugs, but burglary is about far more than the mere cost of stuff lost.  It's a massive invasion of one's personal  space, and one's castle under the  law.

        Burglars are venal pieces of shit ime.  And I've arrested many burglars.  Ending the WOD is a very good idea.  Leniency towards burgars, not so much imo?

        Of course many burglars ARE burglars because they are looking to support their illegal drug habit which would be largely eliminated if we ended the WOD.

        •  Actually we did report it because of the reason (0+ / 0-)

          you give. But it was such a small amount that the police didn't investigate further. Now if my property was in a wealthy area of town and for a larger amount the investigation would have be more intensive. Especially if the home owners insurance (a large corporation) had to pay me big bucks.

          In my case I think what was stolen was to financce drug (including alcohol & cigarettes) costs. It may have even been my sister who I let live on our property for 14 months trying to feed her habits from someone who she knew had extra. In her case it was alcohol and cigarettes which now thanks to all the sin taxes are now over $5 a pack. She should quit since she has been laid off for over 2 years but you ever tried to give up a crutch when you are down?  

          Burglary is an invasion but one which I was a enabler because I did not secure my property. I am not that forgiving but I think prison for minor theft is an waste. There has to be other solutions that won't cost me 1000s of times on top of the cost of the lost property.

          I think it is better for a society to try  to absorb into its structure as many as possible leaving the ultimate act of isolating someone to the crimes against people not property. Believe me I have experienced both and the crimes committed against me from age 5 and on have never been punished and I suffer far more loss of security fromthe pain of paranoia and distrust of others because of what happened far more then having some cabinets for my garage stolen. That pissed me off.

          Fear is the Mind Killer

          by boophus on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 08:05:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Are you enabling rape because you wear revealing (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Knucklehead, wu ming

            clothing?  That's kind of the same blame the victim logic.  Certainly, I get tired of the burgs/auto thefts etc. where people leave their stuff wide open/unlocked, but it's still not an invitation to theft - to an honest person .  

            We've heard those arguments before.  rightwinger says a girl was "asking for it" or enabling rape because she gets drunk at a party that she goes to alone, and there are a bunch of guys there, etc. and she's dressed revealingly etc.  Just like "no means no" when it comes to our own bodies, private property is private property and somebody leaving their garage door open or their rear door unlocked doesn't in any way minimize a burglar's culpability.

            An average person suffers far less from a (for example) shove by some belligerent drunk at a bar or even a punch in the gut vs. somebody breaking into their home.  People who have had their homes broken into often report the violation feels almost like a rape in that just like a rape makes one feel unsafe in one's personal space, a burglary makes one feel unsafe in one's own home

            i remember once responding to a case where a low income family had both their kids' bicycles (they had scrimped and saved to buy them for christmas) stolen a few days before christmas, and i can't tell you how devastating it was for them.

            I am 100% against the drug war, but I can tell you that prolific burglars can literally terrorize a community, make them feel unsafe and paranoid, etc.  I realize many people automatically think crimes against persons are worse than crimes against property, but it's not always that simple.

  •  I've called for this for years ... (10+ / 0-)

    This is the text I proposed back in 2005.  It is still carried on Melanie Marshall's pro-legalization web site, Makepotlegal555.org.

    JONATHAN'S LAW*

    -The Drug Enforcement Administration is directed to reschedule cannabis, also known as marijuana, into the category, “Generally Recognized As Safe”.

    -All Federal restrictions on the possession, use, sale, and cultivation of cannabis are lifted as of the date on which this legislation is signed into law by the President.

    -All persons currently serving Federal sentences for possession, use, sale, and/or cultivation of cannabis shall be released from prison immediately upon this legislation becoming law.

    -All pending cases regarding the possession, use, sale, and/or cultivation of cannabis shall be dismissed upon this legislation becoming law.

    -All current Federal investigations of cannabis-related activities shall be discontinued upon this legislation becoming law.

    -All cannabis-related records will be erased.

    - No resources of the Federal Government of the United States shall be used to monitor, control, or regulate the possession, use, sale, and/or cultivation of cannabis, either acting independently, or in conjunction with any state or municipality.

    -No resources of the Federal Government of the United States shall be used to influence, directly or indirectly, the internal politics of any state or municipality regarding their laws concerning the possession, use, sale, and/or cultivation of cannabis. This includes attempts to influence state legislatures, and also attempts to influence voters who are considering ballot initiatives.

    -Considering that cannabis metabolites remain in a person’s body long after its effects, and the ambiguous data regarding the effects of cannabis on driver safety, all state laws regarding drugged driving must be based on physical performance standards, and not merely on the presence of drug metabolites in a person's system.

    * Named in honor of Jonathan Magbie, whose life ended on September 24, 2004. Killed by the callous indifference of the legal system of the District of Columbia.

    ******************

    Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

    by kbman on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 04:37:24 PM PDT

  •  Carter was probably one of the (11+ / 0-)

    most genuinely pragmatic presidents we've had in sincerely attempting solutions to our greatest problems.  His only political "fault," if one could call it that, which I don't personally, was his honesty.

    Tipped and rec'd.  This should get as much exposure as possible to help keep the window open.

    For those who serve the greater cause may make the cause serve them.... Murder in The Cathedral......T.S. Eliot

    by blueoasis on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 04:41:39 PM PDT

  •  Can people invite me to join our drug law (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lawrence, neroden, Mindmover

    improvement groups.  I'd like to more strongly support these efforts.

    And, also republish this diary to all the appropriate places.

    Thanks.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 04:47:38 PM PDT

  •  Call it off in phases at the very least (4+ / 0-)

    Start with Cannabis.

    Don't worry about what Harry Anslinger might say. He's dead already.

    Someone explain it to these dweebs, dorks, and assorted authoritarian pricks in a language that they might understand. (Dumbfuckish? Rectal Craniumian?)

    Reefer Madness was fiction!

    While they're at it they might take a look at evil prohibited  mushrooms and cacti. Psilocybin for instance - has shown great promise in healing broken psyches and in helping people emotionally deal with their impending deaths.

    That's all I have to say on this issue for the moment. Back to my cheap Ukrainian Vodka and grapefruit juice..

    An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics - Plutarch

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 04:56:17 PM PDT

  •  Prescription Drugs (0+ / 0-)

    Photobucket

    Photobucket

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 05:21:05 PM PDT

  •  Fox Business Channel has actually had several (4+ / 0-)

    good interviews, stories etc. fiercely critical of the War on Drugs.  Kind of sad that a Fauxnooz satellite has had more stuff critical of the drug war, etc. and good reporting on same than anything I have seen on MSNBC, let alone the major networks.  Stossel and Napolitano have done some very good pieces against the drug war, with some good interviews - not with the usual NORML "pot is good" types, but with cops, etc. railing against the WOD

    http://www.youtube.com/...

    http://www.youtube.com/...

  •  For 6000 years (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, Knucklehead

    of recorded human history, and probably stretching all the way back to the dim buddings of our species' tool-making and environment-utilizing skills; humans have enjoyed changing consciousness.

    It's really kind of crazy considering what a trip just being a human who is a awake can be; but there it is. Humans love to get a buzz on, a lot; and, judging from the historical and archeological records, in variety.

    And now, at the height of our civilization (if not our wisdom); we are only allowed one (1) variety that's worth a damn.

    Oh yeah, and that one is a metabolic poison which will kill you if you imbibe enough of it.

    Grrrr....

    Wakeful people make better democracy.

    by Hammerhand on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 07:46:23 PM PDT

  •  I knew (0+ / 0-)

    that using such a blatantly optimistic phrase would not go unchecked. I also knew that if I used it, it was probable that anyone who responded would merely deride the use of that phrase and not comment on anything else that I said. I admit it could have been more accurate had I added "the height of our civilization so far" As for questioning whether our civilization is at it's height so far?

    Maybe we should go back to before the Civil Rights movement?
    Before the desegregation of the military?
    Before Women's Suffrage?
    Before the Emancipation Proclamation?
    Before the US constitution?

    All those things righted wrongs that have been an intrinsic part of human society since we started doing it. Believe what you will; I believe that despite the many flaws that remain, we are right now at the height of our civilization so far. Moreover I believe it's pretty obviously foolish to try to restrict our buzz-loving species to one buzz; no matter our elevation.

    Wakeful people make better democracy.

    by Hammerhand on Sun Jun 19, 2011 at 06:58:49 AM PDT

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