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My mind is made up

When I first became aware of the drug war, I was a spirited anti-racism activist living in the Deep South. I chiefly saw drug prohibition as a war against people of color and wanted the crusade to end. I didn't yet know about the suffering of debilitated cannabis users, the widespread and avoidable risks to public health caused by abstinence-only policies, and the fierce linkage between the artificially inflated street prices of illegals and the subsequent emergence of crack and meth as a means to cut corners and cost. There was a time when I simply hoped that, in the spirit of bi-partisan unity and brotherly love, lawmakers would rewrite the prohibition rulebook in order to make the war "more equal." Little time passed, however, when I came to see that the war could not simply be modified to eliminate racial discrimination and inequality, but that prejudice was at its very core. Even still, I couldn't dream of illegal drugs simply becoming legal. I once reasoned that there must be a middle ground between the status quo and the free market. For the longest time, I actively promoted medicalization and decriminalization. Throughout this journey, I have been a eager student to learn as much as I can. I have also come to question everything that is sacred to drug policy reformers. These days I am quick to have doubts about those reformist strategies that have become trophies of the movement. Along the way, I have graduated from thinking that the movement can carry on with dismantling the drug warrior's castle without having a concrete vision for a world without the war on drugs. As reformers across our movement continue to push hard towards realizing incremental sentencing and legal reforms, the time has come for our movement to embrace legalization as our ultimate aim. Formally acknowledging that ending drug prohibition will give birth to a legal framework of some kind will shake up the politicians and public like never before! The movement's agenda will get more attention, more criticism and scrutiny from warriors, media and the Right. And isn't that what we want? And as it has been noted numerous times by other reformers, we would be emboldened by the truth: when legalizers put up a fight against prohibition in the past, the legalizers declared sweet victory.
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Welcome Aboard!

G. Wilder Smith,

Many of us made the same journey you have, and came to the same common sense conclusion! Many times when I am speaking for www.leap.cc at different places I get hit with the same questions.

1. First being you don't really mean all drugs do you, even heroin??? I ask which drugs do you believe we should leave in the control and hands of the criminals? Which drugs do you not want any control over being offered to our kids?? As it stands today the bad guys control EVERY aspect of the drug world, the price, quality, quantity and age limit, FACT! After 80+ years and a TRILLION DOLLARS later, a long with having more people in prison than any country in the world, do you want to follow this same path???

2. If we make all drugs legal more people will be doing them. I then ask the person who said this, " which drugs are you going to do when they become legal"?? And always get the answer, I DON'T DO DRUGS! Then I ask everybody in the audience, with a show of hands. Please tell me if you know somebody, anybody so intelligent as to not do drugs now because there illegal, " YET " so stupid as to can not resist them when they become legal"??? Nobody has ever raised their hand. How is it we always think we are stronger than our neighbors or that we must, or have the right to think for others or the right to force our fears and beliefs on others?

The truth be known there were and still are MILLIONS of drug users in this country, that were not drug abusers , that were never a problem UNTIL WE MADE LAWS THAT MADE THEM A PROBLEM, FACT!! Will there be an increase, yes but only because FREE AMERICANS will no longer have to hide their INDIVIDUAL AND PRIVATE CHOICES IN THE CLOSET ANY LONGER!

First and foremost, the legalization of drugs " IS NOT " to solve our drug problem!!! " IT IS " to solve our control and violence problem! Then we can use the wasted resources such as the 69 BILLION DOLLARS we throw away each year, to help not harm our sons and daughters! While putting our law enforcement resources back to protecting and serving chasing REAL CRIMINALS!!! Empty our jails and prisons of non-violent drug users thereby reducing the tax burden on us all!

Rusty White
Speaker www.leap.cc

Easing the fear

Rusty,Thanks for your message and insights into the fearful reception that you must inevitably face. However, it seems that you are doing a fantastic job at showing people the light and helping them to realize that prohibition is a really scary thing, and is making our communities a lot more dangerous than legalization would. Since posting this bit about my coming on board as a legalizer, I've now posted about resources (including LEAP) that are available to reformers to start publicly embracing legalization and creating a sound vision of what a legal market will look like. My hope is to ease the fear about talking about, debating and advocating the legalization model! My latest post, "Going all the way for legalization" can be read at:http://stopthedrugwar.org/reader_blogs/2006/sep/06/going_all_the_way_for_legalizati Peace, Grant

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