Breaking News:EVENT: "The Continuing Detention of Senator Leila de Lima," UN Human Rights Council, Geneva and Online

John Edwards Criticizes the War on Drugs

Posted in:
Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards sounds like he's finally ready to discuss the drug war realistically:
Grinnell, Ia. – America needs to reconsider its punitive approach to "the so-called war on drugs," presidential candidate John Edwards said here today.

"We're not going to build enough prisons to solve this problem," he told a crowd of about 800 at Grinnell College.

The former North Carolina senator grinned when a young man sitting behind him on stage asked about drug policy. “Only on college campuses," Edwards joked before answering.

He said he’s especially concerned about mandatory minimum sentences for first-time drug offenders, which he said should be reconsidered. He added that too few drug offenders get treatment.

"You go to jail, you come out of jail, and a lot of people go right back to the environment that got them in trouble to begin with," he said. "…We need to get them the help that they need; if they need education, if they need job training, if they need drug rehabilitation." [Des Moines Register]

This is a big improvement following Edwards's very recent remarks claiming that discussion of marijuana decriminalization "sends the wrong signal to young people."

What happened? It really is kinda nutty to dismiss a puny little reform like marijuana decrim, only to then stand up weeks later and question the fundamentally punitive nature of the drug war on the whole. My guess is Edwards realized he wasn't scoring any points with that tired old "sends the wrong message" nonsense.

The mere specter of our massive criminal justice system -- bloated with non-violent drug offenders -- sends the wrong message to everyone. It's good that Edwards finally worked up the nerve to say so.

(This blog post was published by's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

United States
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!

glad to see

This baby step from Edwards.

Drug war abolition is becoming a staple if still marginalized issue in the 2008 presidential campaign.

But Edwards still does not compare to Ron Paul and Mike Gravel for depth of position. I compared them today.

John Edwards: War on drugs too punitive

Just out of curiosity

Does he really expect anyone to buy this latest crock of horseshit? If so, can I have a list of their names and addresses?

hahaa... I mean you can

hahaa... I mean you can count me as among the people who buy that Edwards' talking less punitively about the WOD means he will be less-punitively minded in office....

I mean I don't believe that either represents his personal "convictions" or any long-held or seriously considered ideas.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <i> <blockquote> <p> <address> <pre> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <br> <b>

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, Vaping, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School