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Opposing the Drug War Doesn’t Make Us "Pro-drug"

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As recently as Friday, ONDCP has continuously described drug policy reform organizations as "pro-drug groups":
For years, pro-drug groups have been alleging that "nothing can be done" about the world's illegal drug problem.
Nothing could more perfectly illustrate ONDCP's inability (or unwillingness) to acknowledge the stated goals of the drug policy reform movement. For starters, "nothing can be done about the world's drug problem" is the precise opposite of what we believe, and is an ironic accusation to receive from people who specialize in accomplishing nothing.

We've identified many things that need to be done with regards to the world's drug problem, starting immediately. It's true that we want the government to stop doing several things it currently does, but that doesn't mean we advocate illegal drug use or want nothing done. Our message is positive: drug abuse can be handled better than this.

Moreover, the difference between advocating something and opposing the arrest of its practitioners is plainly evident in the case of religion, sexual preferences, sky diving and so on. It is utter nonsense to equate opposition to the drug war with advocacy of drug use, and ONDCP's compulsion to falsely describe our motives merely demonstrates the difficulty of actually responding to our arguments.

Ultimately, the magnitude and diversity of the drug policy reform movement overwhelms any attempt to simplify our agenda. DPA's Ethan Nadelmann said it best at the 2005 International Drug Policy Reform Conference:
Who are we? We are people who love drugs. They say we like drugs. It's true. Especially marijuana. Marijuana has been good for us. God put it here for a reason and we need to find a way to live with it in peace. But we are also people who hate drugs. We have suffered from overdoses and addiction. But we know that drugs are here to stay, and prohibition and the criminal justice system is not the way to deal with it. And we are people who don't care about drugs. People who care about the Constitution, who care about 2.2 million Americans behind bars, who care about fundamental rights and freedoms.
Indeed, opposition to the drug war emerges from a thousand perspectives, but it is for precisely this reason that ONDCP still endeavors to boil down our position into one silly soundbite: "pro-drug groups." It is one thing to create caricatures of our movement and mock us in a blog that doesn't allow comments. It would be quite another to stand up and defend this catastrophic war before each and every constituency that suffers by its hand.

So for the record, no, we are not "pro-drug." We are pro-freedom. We are pro-justice. We are pro-health, pro-equality, and pro-constitution. And we will continue to stand for these values openly and despite the certainty of being called things that we are not.

United States
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Micah Daigle's picture

I know you are but what am I?

All great points, Scott.

I also think that the drug policy reform movement would do well to call our prohibitionist opponents out on what they truly advocate with their destructive policies. Here's just a few:

Pro-black market

Matt_Potter's picture

Diversifying the Movement

Good post. It is incredibly frustrating to hear the movement reduced to such simplistic and ignorant generalizations. However, I think that we should really examine whether or not we are actually portraying a "pro-drug" image. I know in our areas, a lot of the "legalization rallies" are more or less tie-dyed frisbee sessions.

I think that to some degree, it is the fault of the movement at getting the real issues such as institutionalized racism, lack of real treatment facilities, mandatory minimums etc.

I don't know what the answer is, but I definitely think it is a problem that needs to be examined further.


... I like this post! I think it is more articulate and on the mark than my "supporting the environment doesn't make you a polar bear" thingy.

Anyway, I am not so much pro-drugs as I am pro-throwing banana creme pie in John Walters' face. Harumph.

-Rebecca of DGD

the true reform

You damn hippies disgust me about how you just sit around and bitch about these laws when what you really need to do is take control. Dont you understand that you are the people of the United States, you have power over your government if you would only take it and use it. They rely on us to fund and propagate their tyrany over the world. Over 80 million Americans smoke pot alone, if we banded together and actually demanded what is rightfully ours, as guaranteed by our founding ancestors instead of just complaining and saying "come on guys, please let us be free" we would be able to acheive something. WE fund their wars and their slavery, WE have control of them and in no way should, they or can they, control us whilst we truly fight for what is ours. We are the free and the brave and we should act as such. The people shouldnt fear the Government, the Government should fear the People.

drug petition for obama

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