Tuesday, March 17, 2009

¿Legalización de la droga? Si!

What can be done about the horrific drug war going on in Mexico? What's our knee jerk answer? More police. More guns. More patrols. More of what doesn't have any effect on the problem.

Maybe another approach is called for. It's one that an increasing number of Americans support. Not yet a majority, but a substantial and growing minority--42 percent with 7 percent undecided. It's a common sense answer to a problem that's not--not ever, that is, never--going away. Legalize marijuana. That one drug alone is 65 to 70 percent of the Mexican drug trade.

But a good case can be made for legalizing all illicit drugs. With the slaughter going on just south of the border, you're going to be seeing more and more articles like this one by Glen Greenwald about the whole war on drugs question. This piece talks about Portugal, of all places, and how the land of Vasco de Gama has decided to decriminalize drugs, all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. The result?

Evaluating the policy strictly from an empirical perspective, decriminalization has been an unquestionable success, leading to improvements in virtually every relevant category and enabling Portugal to manage drug-related problems (and drug usage rates) far better than most Western nations that continue to treat adult drug consumption as a criminal offense.

What a concept! Stop wasting billions of dollars on something that does not work. Stop making criminals of normal people. Stop generating billions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels and feeding the horrendous violence in Mexico. The person who wrote this to the U.S. News and World Report survey has it right:

If we were a free society, people would be allowed to use any drug they wanted. If we were a compassionate society, we would put people with drug problems in rehab, not in prison. But we are neither a free nor a compassionate society. We are a moralistic one. So our response to the problem is predictably stupid.

Update 1: Strapped sorely for cash the city of Philadelphia might be mulling marijuana legalization.
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