"Tough on Drugs" Politics Just Aren't as Popular Anymore

Submitted by smorgan on
The Rolling Stone piece I mentioned earlier also contains an excellent observation from drug policy expert/centrist Mark Kleiman, with regards to the new administration's pledge to respect state medical marijuana laws:

"There are two striking things about that," says Mark Kleiman, who directs the study of drug policy at UCLA. "One was that the administration thought that they could get away with it. And the other is that they did! There was no outcry, or even an attempt at an outcry. The administration clearly thinks that being 'soft on drugs' is no longer a political vulnerability. And it looks like they're right."

This perfectly illustrates the emergence of the new drug war politics. The long-standing consensus within our political culture that the public demands harsh drug laws is just pure fiction. Test that theory any way you want and it will fail to deliver every time. State-level marijuana reforms passed by colossal margins in 2008, support for legalization is polling at record levels, and legalization repeatedly emerged as America's top political issue according to public votes on the president's own website.

We are cascading towards a remarkable moment when the politics of drug policy are revealed to be far removed from what many believed them to be.

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Source URL: https://stopthedrugwar.org/speakeasy/2009/jun/15/tough_drugs_politics_just_arent