Feature: US Drug Policies Flawed and Failed, Experts Tell Congressional Committee

The US Congress Joint Economic Committee yesterday held a historic hearing on the economic costs of US drug policy. The hearing, titled Illegal Drugs: Economic Impact, Societal Costs, Policy Responses, was called at the request of Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), who in his opening remarks described the all-too-familiar failure of US drug policy to accomplish the goals it has set for itself. It was the second hearing related to incarceration that Webb has convened under the auspices of this committee.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/jimwebb.jpg
Jim Webb at 2007 incarceration hearing (photo from sentencingproject.org)
"Our insatiable demand for drugs" drives the drug trade, Webb pointed out. "We're spending enormous amounts of money to interdict drug shipments, but supplies remain consistent. Some 86% of high schoolers report easy access to marijuana. Cocaine prices have fallen by about 80% since the 1980s," the freshman senator continued. "Efforts to curb illegal drug use have relied heavily on enforcement. The number of people in custody on drug charges has increased 13-fold in the past 25 years, yet the flow of drugs remains undiminished. Drug convictions and collateral punishments are devastating our minority communities," Webb said.

"Our current policy mix is not working the way we want it to," Webb declared. "The ease with which drugs can be obtained, the price, the number of people using drugs, the violence on the border all show that. We need to rethink our responses to the health effects, the economic impacts, the effect on crime. We need to rethink our approach to the supply and demand of drugs."

Such sentiments coming from a sitting senator in the US in 2008 are bold if not remarkable, and it's not the first time that Webb has uttered such words:

In March of last year, he told George Stephanopoulos on the ABC News program This Week: "One of the issues which never comes up in campaigns but it's an issue that's tearing this country apart is this whole notion of our criminal justice system, how many people are in our criminal justice system more -- I think we have two million people incarcerated in this country right now and that's an issue that's going to take two or three years to try to get to the bottom of and that's where I want to put my energy."

In his recently-released book, A Time to Fight, Webb wrote: "The time has come to stop locking up people for mere possession and use of marijuana," "It makes far more sense to take the money that would be saved by such a policy and use it for enforcement of gang-related activities" and "Either we are home to the most evil population on earth, or we are locking up a lot of people who really don't need to be in jail, for actions that other countries seem to handle in more constructive ways."

Still, drug reformers may be impatient with the level of rethinking presented at the hearing. While witnesses including University of Maryland criminologist Peter Reuter, author of "Drug War Heresies," and John Walsh, director of the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) offered strong and familiar critiques of various aspects of US drug policy, neither of the words "prohibition" or "legalization" were ever uttered, nor were the words "tax and regulate," and radical alternatives to current policy were barely touched upon. Instead, the emphasis seemed to be on adjusting the "mix" of spending on law enforcement versus treatment and prevention.

The other two witnesses at the hearing, Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, Assistant District Attorney Anne Swern and community coordinator Norma Fernandes of the same office, were there to talk up the success of drug court-style programs in their community.

[The written testimony of all four witnesses is available at the hearing web site linked above.]

"US drug policy is comprehensive, but unbalanced," said Reuter. "As much as 75% of spending goes to enforcement, mainly to lock up low-level drug dealers. Treatment is not very available. The US has a larger drug problem than other Western countries, and the policy measures to confront it have met with little success," he told the committee.

Reuter said there were some indications policymakers and the electorate are tiring of the drug war approach, citing California's treatment-not-jail Proposition 36, but there was little indication Congress was interested in serious analysis of programs and policies.

"Congress has been content to accept rhetoric instead of research," Reuter said, citing its lack of reaction to the Office of National Drug Control Policy's refusal to release a now three-year-old report on drug use levels during the Bush administration. "It's hardly a secret that ONDCP has failed to publish that report, but Congress has not bothered to do anything," he complained. "We need more emphasis on the analytic base for policy."

But even with the paltry evidence available to work with, Reuter was able to summarize a bottom line: "The US imprisons too many people and provides too little treatment," he said. "We need more than marginal changes."

"US drug policies have been in place for some time without much change except for intensification," said WOLA's Walsh, noting that coca production levels are as high as they were 20 years ago. "Since 1981, we have spent about $800 billion on drug control, and $600 billion of that on supply reduction. We need a stiff dose of historical reality as we contemplate what to do now," he told the committee.

With the basic policies in place for so long, some conclusions can now be drawn, Walsh said. "First, the balloon effect is real and fully relevant today. We've seen it time and time again, not just with crops, but also with drug smuggling routes. If we want to talk about actually reducing illicit crops and we know eradication only leads to renewed planting, we need to be looking for alternatives," he said.

"Second, there is continuing strong availability of illicit drugs and a long-term trend toward falling prices," Walsh said, strongly suggesting that interdiction was a failed policy. "The perennial goal is to drive up prices, but prices have fallen sharply. There is evidence of disruptions in the US cocaine market last year, but whether that endures is an open question and quite doubtful given the historical record," he said.

"Third, finding drugs coming across the border is like finding a needle in a haystack, or more like finding lots of needles in lots of different moving haystacks," he said. "Our legal commerce with Mexico is so huge that to think we can seal the borders is delusional."

With respect to the anti-drug assistance package for Mexico currently being debated in Congress, Walsh had a warning: "Even with US assistance, any reduction in the flow of drugs from Mexico is unlikely." Instead, Walsh said, lawmakers should adjust their supply-control objectives and expectations to bring them in line with that reality.

Changes in drug producing countries will require sustained efforts to increase alternative livelihoods. That in turn will require patience and a turn away from "the quick fix mentality that hasn't fixed anything," Walsh said.

"We can't expect sudden improvements; there is no silver bullet," Walsh concluded. "We need to switch to harm reduction approaches and recognize drugs and drug use as perennial problems that can't be eliminated, but can be managed better. We need to minimize not only the harms associated with drug use, but also those related to policies meant to control drugs."

"It is important to be able to discuss the realities of the situation, it's not always a comfortable thing to talk about," Webb said after the oral testimony. "This is very much a demand problem. I've been skeptical bout drug eradication programs; they just don't work when you're supplying such an enormous thirst on this end. We have to find ways to address demand other than locking up more people. We have created an incredible underground economic apparatus and we have to think hard about how to address it."

"The way in which we focused attention on the supply side has been very much mistaken," agreed Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), who along with Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) were the only other solons attending the hearing. "All this focus on supply hasn't really done anything of any value. The real issue is demand, and prevention and dealing with people getting out of prison is the way to deal with this."

Reuter suggested part of the solution was in increase in what he called "coerced abstinence," or forced drug treatment. Citing the work of UCLA drug policy researcher Mark Kleiman, Reuter said that regimes of frequent testing with modest sanctions imposed immediately and with certainty can result "in a real decline in drug taking and criminal activity."

That got a nod of agreement from prosecutor Swern. "How long you stay in treatment is the best predictor of staying out of trouble or off drugs," she said. Swern is running a program with deferring sentencing, with some flexibility she said. "The beauty of our program is it allows us to give people many chances. If they fail in treatment and want to try again, we do that," she said.

As the hearing drew to an end, Webb had one last question: "Justice Department statistics show that of all drug arrests in 2005, 42.6% were for marijuana offenses. What about the energy expended arresting people for marijuana?" he asked, implicitly begging for someone to respond, "It's a waste of resources."

But no one connected directly with the floating softball. "The vast majority of those arrests are for simple possession," said Reuter. "In Maryland, essentially no one is sentenced to jail for marijuana possession, although about a third spend time in jail pre-trial. It's not as bad as it looks," he said sanguinely.

"There's violence around marijuana trafficking in Brooklyn," responded prosecutor Swern.

WOLA's Walsh came closest to a strong answer. "Your question goes to setting priorities," he said. "We need to discriminate among types of illicit drugs. Which do the most harm and deserve the most emphasis? Also, given the sheer number of marijuana users, what kind of dent can you make even with many more arrests?"

And so ended the first joint congressional hearing to challenge the dogmas of the drug war. For reformers that attended, there were generally thumbs up for Webb and the committee, mixed with a bit of disappointment that the hearings only went so far.

"It was extraordinary," said Sanho Tree, director of the Drug Policy Project at the DC-based Institute for Policy Studies. "They didn't cover some of the things I hoped they would, but I have to give them props for addressing the issue at all."

"Webb was looking for someone to say what he wanted to say with the marijuana question, that perhaps we should deemphasize law enforcement on that," said Doug McVay, policy analyst at Common Sense for Drug Policy, who also attended the hearing. "I don't think our witnesses quite caught what he was aiming for, an answer that arresting all those people for marijuana takes away resources that could be used to fight real crime."

Sen. Webb came in for special praise from Tree. "Perhaps because he's a possible vice presidential candidate, he had to tone things down a bit, but he is clearly not afraid to talk about over-incarceration, and using the Joint Economic Committee instead of Judiciary or Foreign Affairs is a brilliant use of that committee, because this is, after all, a policy with enormous economic consequences," Tree said. "Webb is clearly motivated by doing something about the high levels of incarceration. He held a hearing on it last year, and got the obvious answer that much of it is related to drug policy. Having heard that kind of answer, most politicians would walk away fast, but not Webb, so I have to give him credit."

Reversing the drug war juggernaut will not be easy. The Congressional Joint Economic Committee hearing Thursday was perhaps a small step toward that end, but it is a step in the right direction.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

Marijuana & it's Beat around the Bush..Lies

I will never understand ..the hands off ..attitude these blind leaders follow...Where do these idiots come from & further more...how do they even get to this ..on top of issues ..Office?
Without a calculator...How is it Not benefical...to stop chasing the ..Weed...Legalize the harmless plant...Cannibis is soo deversified...so problem solving...it scares ..even ..the Blind Leaders...Except ...the Few...The Proud..The Smart

so you appose it?

so you appose it?

Leave Jim Webb a Comment at http://webb.senate.gov/contact/

I just went to Jim Webb's website to leave him a comment thanking him for holding the hearing on drug policy. It is very exciting to see a freshman Senator willing to challenge drug war orthodoxy. I suggest others do the same.

Such incrementalism will leave us running in place forever!!!

Great commentary!!!

The sad reality is that all these politicans and bueracrats are all dependant on sucking the teat of special interests (attorneys, drug testing labs, the prison industrial comples, the Pharmeceutical industrail complex etc.) that profit so handsomely from Marijuana prohibition in particular. And the drug reform organizations (MPP, DPA) are nearly as complicit as they know that once Marijuana is legalized (e.g., under the MERP Model) their organizations will probably find reduced funding since Marijuana IS the primary illicit drug of choice for most Americans.

If we ever want to stop "running in place" we must take it upon ourselves to demand Marijuana Legalization: preferably without any taxation or regulation. The MERP Model is called radical by many but it really only prescribes a model that is very similar to the current legal model we allow for home beer and wine producers.

A "net neutral" internet is our best bet for organizing the "tribes." And that is why all drug reformers have a stake in preserving Net Neutrailty on the internet. A full court press on our politicians, very much like the model used by NumbersUSA (with immigration), would be a potent tool for cracking open this little oyster we know as Marijuana prohbiton.

NORML has been active in this fight since 1974: 34 years. How much time should it take to change this stupid policy. That is the question every American should be asking. Because every day that Marijuana Prohibition continues is another day that we give our country away to Drug Cartels, and other organizations, that know that Marijuana Prohibition is the only thing that assures their continued ill-deserved profits.

We are being hood winked and I think it time we all woke up.

Bruce W. Cain
Editor, New Age Citizen
www.newagecitizen.com

Drug Policy
===========

The MERP Project
The Marijuana Re-Legalization Policy (MRP) Project

http://www.newagecitizen.com/ReLegalization01.htm
http://www.newagecitizen.com/editorial_on_the_marijuana_re.htm

Bruce W. Cain Discusses the MERP Model, for Marijuana Relegalization, with "Sense and Sensimilla"
http://senseandsensi.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=270029

Why Lou Dobbs Should Support Marijuana Legalization
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VKf5YfQb7s&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Enewag...

Video Biography of Bruce W. Cain
http://www.newagecitizen.com/Videos.htm

The "Hemp Song" by Bruce W. Cain
http://www.newagecitizen.com/AudioFiles/HempSongGnosticRaw.mp3

"Rainbow Farm" and instrumental dedicated to Tom Crosslin who was
murdered at Rainbow Farm a week before 9/11 (09/11/2001)
http://www.newagecitizen.com/AudioFiles/RainbowFarm%20050202.mp3

How Continuing the Drug War could make Nuclear Terrorism a Reality
by Bruce W. Cain
http://www.newagecitizen.com/Editorials/v8n1NuclearTerrorism.htm

call Webb and offer your support to legalize!

(202) 224-3121

Comment to Sen. Webb

Thanks for the link to Senator Webb's web site (http://webb.senate.gov/contact/). My comments to him:

Thank you for calling for the hearing titled "Illegal Drugs: Economic Impact, Societal Costs, Policy Responses." What currently constitutes "illegal drug abuse" in this country is arbitrary, capricious and ultimately harmful to our society.

It is crucial to speak out against the War on Drugs, which is the most destructive social and political policy this country has ever had to endure. Drug use and drug addiction are public health issues that must be dealt with through education and treatment. They are not criminal justice issues.

During Prohibition, when alcoholic beverages were illegal, the same kind of ruthless gangs and gangsters that we see today were warring for control of turf and distribution rights. Innocent people were killed, corruption flourished and disrespect for the law was common. Prohibition was repealed and the problems associated with the illegality of alcoholic beverages vanished. It is time for a new approach to drugs. Otherwise, our inner cities may be destroyed by our efforts to save them.

Ken Wolski
Trenton, NJ 08648

Those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it.

I also took the time to write the Senator to support his efforts. We must retake our country. So long as drugs are illegal, criminals will profit and the citizenry will suffer.

This may help

YES

Legalization would also open the way to reduce the ever increasing corruption in American government, where businessmen and women make the laws that put our people in chains for no other reason than their pocketbooks and avoiding the taxes they make OTHERS pay!

Forced Treatment

Putting people in rehab for possession isn't much of an improvement. Anyone in the field of drug treatment will tell you that treatment doesn't work unless a person truly wants to quit. Forcing people into treatment is therefore pointless, and it fills up the treatment centers with people who don't want -- or possibly don't need -- to be there. Meanwhile, people who honestly want treatment for serious addictions are on long waiting lists because they haven't been arrested.

A stay in a treatment center might be more humane than jail or prison, but "coerced abstinence" is just another counterproductive waste of resources, and needlessly deprives people of their liberty.

Forced Treatment

Not only that, this regime could only work against marijuana, because pot is not addictive. Addiction is hardwired into the brain, so that the minute hard drugs users return to the street, and craving is aroused, they're back on the merry-go-round.

Legalize ibogaine, and those who truly want to quit will seek it out. (Even now they seek it out, it's just harder to find than it would be if it were legal.) Ibogaine 1) resets the opiate receptors to a pre-addictive state, 2) turns into a metabolite, nor-ibogaine, that up-regulates serotonin and fights depression for a couple of months, 3) switches on a growth factor, GDNF, that rebuilds dopamine receptors trashed by alcohol, stimulants and opiates alike. Once expressed, GDNF back-signals to the cells to make more GDNF, setting up a beneficial, sef-sustaining loop, so that you don't need to keep taking ibogaine. So it's not a maintenance drug.

forced treatment

I have to say I find the idea of forced treatment even more alarming than prison. Remember how the Soviet Union used psychiatric "hospitalizations" for political opponents?

In treatment, there are limits to permissible reading materials [like AA pamphlets & the Bible]. At least in prison you can read what you want.

GREAT WORK VOTERS!

This is a great story the tide is turning against prohibition. I agree that lawmakers willing to take a stand against prohibition deserve to be thanked and supported but they only react to public support for an issue, so the REAL HEROS are the millions of voters that have contacted their elected representatives and continue to contact them. THANK YOU ALL! KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!

IT'S TIME TO REMOVE ALL THE POLITICIANS THAT PROMOTE PROHIBITION.

HOW MANY MORE LIVES HAVE TO BE NEEDLESSLY DEVASTATED OR LOST?

PROHIBITED DRUGS ARE WAY EASIER FOR KIDS TO GET THAN REGULATED DRUGS!

PROHIBITION NEVER WORKS IT JUST CAUSES CRIME & VIOLENCE.

The USA spends $69 billion a year on the drug war, builds 900 new prison beds and hires 150 more correction officers every two weeks, arrests someone on a drug charge every 17 seconds, jails more people than any nation and has killed over 100,000 citizens in the drug war.

In 1914 when there were NO PROHIBITED DRUGS 1.3% of our population was addicted to drugs, TODAY 1.3% of our population is STILL ADDICTED TO DRUGS BUT THERE’S WAY MORE CRIME AND VIOLENCE BECAUSE OF THE HUGE PROFITS PROHIBITION GENERATES. DRUGS TODAY ARE MORE POTENT, MORE READILY AVAILABLE AND LESS EXPENSIVE THAN THEY WERE IN THE EARLY 70’S WHEN RICHARD NIXON STARTED THE WAR ON DRUGS.

Everyone needs to know about “Jury Nullification”. You can learn more here: http://fija.org If you are called for jury duty and you don’t agree with the law the person is charged with, you have the right to vote NOT GUILTY, NO MATTER WHAT EVIDENCE IS PRODUCED. Jurors implementing this right in ALL NON-VIOLENT drug cases will shut down the ridiculous laws of prohibition.

There’s only been one drug success story in history, tobacco, BY FAR THE MOST DEADLY and one of the MOST ADDICTIVE drugs. Almost half the users quit because of REGULATION, ACCURATE INFORMATION AND MEDICAL TREATMENT. No one went to jail and no one got killed.

DEMAND your Constitutional rights. The right; to freedom of religion, free speech, a free press, to keep and bear arms, to be secure in your person, house, papers and effects against unreasonable search and seizure, to life, liberty and property, to be protected from having your property taken by the government without due process of law and without just compensation, to confront the witnesses against you, to be protected from excessive bail, excessive fines, cruel and unusual punishment, to vote and many others have been denied to millions of Americans in the name of the drug war.

TAKE ACTION. JOIN THE EMAIL LIST, WATCH THE VIDEOS:
Internet Explorer: http://jsknow.angelfire.com/home
Other Browsers: http://jsknow.angelfire.com/index.html

mandatory drug treatment

sicntired@mac.com,Vancouver,B.C.Canada This is finding an audience again and if there's any positive statistics you can bet they are in the Marijuana arena.People who slept or weren't around in the 70's and 80's think this is a new idea.Ditto for drug courts.It's all been done before and to suggest that someone has been cured from marijuana addiction defies belief.It's not addictive folks.Taking statistics from so called marijuana "cures" and applying them to real addictions is the kind of sleazy tactics that the treatment community uses to justify their budgets and entrap hard core addicts into their programs.The police and the courts are along for the ride and nothing ever changes. Watching this thing(drug war) drag on for over 40 years with the same old programs resurrected each generation is so frustrating.Every time something new comes along it gets sabotaged or shelved and is never heard from or referred to again.The heroin maintenance programs are always successful but not in weaning people off the drug.The reductions in crime,disease,spread of addiction and ability to hold down a job are ignored and never mentioned.It says a lot that people are so grateful for an elected senator even mentioning the drug war.Too bad he said nothing that isn't plain common sense.It would have been nice if he had mentioned putting the drug war to bed.I can't believe that pot is still illegal and that none of the so called advocacy groups brought up legalisation.

thanks for the link

Dear Senator,

Thank you for your insights on the failed drug war & the costs to our government.

You are about the only politician with the courage to tackle this issue.

If America wants drug control they must control the drugs.

Prior to drugs prohibition we had very few problems with drugs (other than alcohol) and drug prohibition is the root of our drug problems.

It is absolutely normal for 'some' people to use a substance that relieves them of their stress (be it alcohol, marijuana or other drugs including prescriptions) and when we make criminals of a large section of our population we are doomed to loss and failure.

We'll end our drug problem when "we" control who gets their drugs, how much drugs they get and what they do with them.

America has the ability to control all drugs through prescription and keep a tight control (through computers)on the drugs trade; at a tiny fraction of the cost.

Law enforcement and the prison industrial complex will not like the idea of 'drugs control' for they are a 'growth industry' but 'drugs prohibition' is a curse on mankind.

All evidence points to this. Thanks for bringing up some of the drugs policy failure.

Please stay focused on this as drugs prohibition feeds all sort of terrible people around the globe.

Thank you,

"America has the ability to

"America has the ability to control all drugs through prescription and keep a tight control (through computers)on the drugs trade; at a tiny fraction of the cost."

if i need a precription to get pot, just so i can be on some fed list of controls, f&*k that ill stick with my illegal supply. There is only one basicaly fair model for drug re-legalization: the alcohol model, flawed yes, but far superior than the alternatives.

And while no commodity should go untaxed(though wages should) alcohol and pot and the other recreational drugs should NOT be 'sin' taxed, first of all its an insult to secular americans(i mean come on, a sin!?!) also, alcohol and cigarrettes are way over taxed becuse that is what the feds do, tax those who have the least and/or those who are marginilized. a 5-6% sales tax would be all that was needed to generate enormous revenue, and i'll even make a compromise on the income tax(which is as unconstituitonal as the drug war and was a stop gap measure started by fdr that was supposed to be only temporary, and there isn't even a writen law found anywhere that actually states an obligation to pay tax on income) i'll go as high as a 15% flat tax and no higher. And the only reason NOT to have a flat tax is so that the poor can pay a higher % than the vanishing middle class, who pays a higher % than those who have the most(makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? in a bizarro world kinda way)

well, stay classy america!

ps: and f&*k off all u corporates, politicians and cops of all kinds!!! I mean that in the nastiest way possible!! I hope that blade thing from the film "Seven" is involved...

A lie is a lie...

If lying to congress is criminal perjury, and lying to the nation about pretenses for war is also a criminal act, why is John Drugwar Walters still a free man? We need to get Walters in front of a congressional committee, and let justice take it's course. The drugwar has always been a lie ,and war criminals are war criminals!

r u kidding?

American politics (and advertising) are BUILT around lying, disembling and misleading the american public, they learned from the best: the nazi propaganda machine, part of the legacy of WWII, along with all the german rocket scientists, we got a lot of their top prpaganda specialists. I wish i were joking, but its true, modern america is designed around misinforming to outright decieving the populace.

The liberals need to focus on protecting our kids. HELLO.

How can we seriously address gang violence as long as gangs are making tons of money off drugs to devote towards other criminal enterprises: gun smuggling, human trafficking, etc. you name it?

This Congressional dialogue is like talk of rebuilding the infrastructure of New Orleans ("we need more jobs, teachers, housing, etc.") while completely ingoring the damaged levees. Any community development will be a "house of cards" that is vulnerable to being swept away (in this case, by the next wave of drug dealers and shipments that will be several times larger to overcompensate for any previous losses).

In every major city in the United States surveyed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in 2007, past month marijuana use has now surpassed highly addictive tobacco smoking, which is regulated.

http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/yrbss/sellocation.asp

Jim Webb and every one else can say anything they want that comes into their heads but at the end of the day the choice will come down to which policy best protects children:

criminal-controlled markets OR government regulation and drug price control taxation.

This is only happening because the country's broke

Senator Webb is only being the first in acknowledging something that some drug law reformers had been talking about 9 years ago, namely, how the economy will dictate anti-drug activity. 'Good' economic times ('good' until their false prosperity, bought-for-with-borrowed money, runs out, like now) can afford a full-on drug prohibition. 'Bad' times...cannot. When times get bad enough, it becomes obvious that some things need to be re-examined as to their actual usefulness...in both monetary and political senses.

For example, it's awful hard to tell Joe Sixpack that his unemployment bennies are going to run out because there's no money left after making sure anti-drug bureaucrats get their budget appropriations in so they could propagandize America's soon-to-be hungry youth against The Demon Herb (Dad's lost his job to China, remember?) .

The last time something like this happened, it helped end alcohol Prohibition. Let us hope things don't have to get that bad before this one is ended, too.

Ironically, drug use also determined by the economy?

During the prosperous 90's drug use rose across the board, even though arrests also were skyrocketing.

Devolving Politicians

Each generation is supposed to learn from the mistakes of earlier generations and evolve. It took 13 years for our early 20th century politicians to realize that alcohol prohibition was a failure. So, they did the least harmful thing. They repealed it and re-legalized alcohol. This effectively restored order to society and reduced prohibition's evils. This was called the "Grand Experiment". This way the puritanical prohibitionists could gracefuly get their noses out of other people's business. Now we have had generations of cannabis prohibition politicians and their anti-cannabis laws. This has been a far longer, deadlier, costlier, failure than alcohol prohibition was. These laws have caused far more damage to society than cannabis ever could. Yet, having alcohol prohibition's failure as an example, and cannabis prohibition's ongoing failure as another example. Our politicians have never shown the least little sign of having learned anything from these failures. This means that our world if full of devolving politicians, and entire nations on the brink of destruction. What? How sad. This just proves that evolution's rule of "survival of the fittest" is true. Or nation and it's politicians are failures. If we don't figure out how to evolve real fast, we will not survive the ruination of cannabis prohibition. Which has given us organized crime, corruption, violence, a crumbling economy, distrust for our government, and disregard for our laws, to name a few evils. Will we learn and change in time? Only time will tell. But, baby steps are not the answer. Immediate legalization is.

Historic Indeed!

"...a historic hearing on the economic costs of US drug policy.

You continue to place our

You continue to place our lives in danger, over tea-leaves and aspirin... Because it continues to fund your seats.

Failure to listen to the people, ignoring the facts, and profiting from our activities that are common, and made illegal for the sole purpose of political and economic gain, are unconstitutional. What it more unconstitutional, is staying in the business, when you are making your investors bankrupt in the process. You force us all into criminal territory, and then wonder why there is no more legal money left to fund these stupid wars.

Why do they keep it going? Because it only costs us, not them. They are the ones making money from all the unclaimed busts. They are the ones pocketing innocent peoples money that has been stolen, or given to the dealers. This is money that was earned honestly, by someone, and it should not continue to go into the pockets of those corrupt individuals who are hiding under badges and uniforms, claiming to be acting in, "Our best interest".

We are not stupid, blind, or criminals. We are the people. We are the government. You are not acting in accordance with what we want. You are acting directly against the orders we provide. Using the government for your own personal agenda, is an act of treason, and punishable by law. This is not just simple, "Dream chasing", there is an obvious hidden agenda, which a majority of the people see. (Though it is fuzzy to some, it is becoming more clear with every action, or failure to take action.)

If this were a ship, there would have been a mutiny four years ago. We have tried being civil, it is apparent that has failed. Perhaps it is time we became human, and call a spade a spade... We are your boss, you fail to produce, you make things worse, you continue to amplify the same bad practice... We fire you. This is not your world, this is ours. You want a nation to rule... Rule DC, that is your new nation. You can't even handle that! Why would we continue to let you rule the rest of our nation!

It is not "The Government", it is "Our Government". It is not, "The United States of America", it is, "Our United States of America". It is not "Our Choice", it was "Your Choice".

You want to stop crime, and corruption... Demand that every arresting police officer and federal agent involved in any drug related seizure or apprehension, participate in a mandatory drug test, on every rug related seizure or apprehension. Make it a criminal offence, for failure to report to the DEA when the apprehension involves more than $10,000 in seizure of illegal narcotics. Make it a criminal offence, for attempting to apprehend criminals who may be politically involved, which would require the presence of a DEA agent or organization to oversee the apprehension or control the apprehension. (To ensure that bribery, or favoritism, or false arrest, or tampering does not take place.)

Don't allow states to over-penalize laws that already exist as a federal law. (That creates double-jeopardy, where the criminal should be punished by federal judges, but local state has already tried them, and given them a larger penalty than the federal government would have given.)

Create, "If", laws...
If, your state chooses to enforce, "This law", you may not exceed a punishment of, "This Maximum".

Create, "Range", laws...
All states MUST, enforce, "This law", and MUST have a punishment of, "This Minimum", and may not exceed a punishment of, "This Maximum".

Create a, "Full exclusion", law...
Under care of, and control of, "This agency", the, "Controlled substance", will be exempt from civil/federal punishment, when used in compliance with approved voluntary measures. Full disclosure of all known publications, negative, positive, neutral, or indifferent, will be available for full public review to all approved volunteers and participating historic agencies. Commercial of personal financial gain from these public historic documents will be a federal criminal crime, punishable by the full extent of the law.

(That last one, would be for medical research, psychological, chemical, economic, etc... where the government has approved, and is able to perform adequate control, and no known direct harm would come to any approved voluntary participation. This would not be for human testing of crack, on crack addicts. Since crack is known to cause direct harm. However, this would allow crack to be used on non-human studies, or to allow testing of street-drugs, for alerting the public of severely dangerous items being propagated. For awareness, positive affirmative action, study, anti-use persuasion that is factual and real, and to hopefully be able to offer better treatment, knowing the "other" things that would not be in "Lab-creations".)

And another thing... Your

And another thing...

Your numbers don't add-up...

By the statistics of seized drugs, in pounds, compared to the "Statistic", of users... Each person would have to be smoking two pounds every day. Obviously, your statistics are wrong.

Also note... The "Facts" on the government website don't add-up to the statements on the page.

41% tried marijuana...
4% used it within the last year...
2% still use it...

How does that show "Addiction". That tells me it is not addicting, since 41% tried it, 4% tried it recently, and only 2% still use it. (However, it is only 2% that admit to still using it. Who would admit that they committed a federal crime? Seriously, if you believe those numbers, you just contradicted your accusation of it being addictive.)

You go to schools and tell kids, who would not normally know, or care about drugs, that drugs are bad. (Using marijuana as your poster-drug.)

Kids like to be bad. Being bad is fun to a kid. Being bad is funny to a kid. Being bad is how kids lash-out at their parents, and authority in general. You made, and continue to fund, the making of future criminals. You continue to glamorize the use of marijuana as something that every kid will eventually do. (This is not new to anyone. You know this, and so do we. Yet you allow it to continue, and to fund it.)

You continue to glamorize the ability to "Get rich", by simply growing marijuana, when you publicise the, "Street value", which is quite fictional for the size of the busts that they are stated with. That makes every using teen's eyes glow with envy, since they know all their friends have tried it, or would try it. That places them in danger, as they enter into the underground world of narcotics, which you created.

Don't use the excuse, "This is for your kids."...

The message you send is not what they hear. They don't listen to strangers, or authority, and most times, not even the parents. That is the nature of a child. They hear, but they don't listen until they become an adult. By that time, they are already criminals. (By the laws you made to "Protect them".)

Funny thing is... They know more about marijuana than the people making the laws. Because they researched it. Because they tried it. Because they didn't hear you. Because they purposely made an educated decision to disobey you, for fun, for rebellion, to spite you, to prove they could do it, to prove you wrong. But now they do it behind our backs, under our nose, out of reach, out of sight, because you told them they are bad criminals for making that choice.

Now they try to obtain weapons, and drop out of school, because they believe they need protection form the gun-cops and crack-dealers, and believe they will be the next rich-guy with $100,000 made easy. (Then they get out of school, and loose contact with the 41% of the "Try-it" people, and are left fighting for the 4% that you claim have recently used it, ending up as a criminal in jail, or becoming the 2% that are still using it. Selling enough to fund their use.)

Apartment dweller, bunk-mates, roomies, home-bound, or knocked-up and loosing their first home. Because you pushed them out of our sight. Because they didn't want to have their parents house raided by the FBI/DEA/Police, when you came to capture the criminal.

Time for a trial... Guess who is going to be on the defence. You knew the statistics, you are guilty, you will be tried.

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