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Jimmy Carter Says "Call Off the Global Drug War"

Today's New York Times features an op-ed by Jimmy Carter, Call Off the Global Drug War. Check it out.

Carter's piece reacts to the Global Commission on Drug Policy, whose findings and recommendations he cites in it. As Carter notes, he is not the only head of state to raise the issue:

The commission includes the former presidents or prime ministers of five countries, a former secretary general of the United Nations, human rights leaders, and business and government leaders, including Richard Branson, George P. Shultz and Paul A. Volcker.

The commission, he notes, reports on the drug war's failure:

It notes that the global consumption of opiates has increased 34.5 percent, cocaine 27 percent and cannabis 8.5 percent from 1998 to 2008.

He recounts his some of his own history in the issue:

In a message to Congress in 1977, I said the country should decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, with a full program of treatment for addicts. I also cautioned against filling our prisons with young people who were no threat to society, and summarized by saying: "Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself."

And he shares some of the consequences of the drug war he more recently saw up close:

A few years ago I worked side by side for four months with a group of prison inmates, who were learning the building trade, to renovate some public buildings in my hometown of Plains, Ga. They were intelligent and dedicated young men, each preparing for a productive life after the completion of his sentence. More than half of them were in prison for drug-related crimes, and would have been better off in college or trade school.

So another head of state is on board. Who will be the next one?

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Hopefully one who is

Hopefully one who is currently in power rather than holding the title "former"...

A Tale of Two Sides


The more, the merrier and Carter's support is without doubt a very welcome addition to the (growing!) list of "serious" people signing up to the Global Commission message. I do believe that the Global Commission Report is a very important document and is deemed to play a significant strategic role in the fight against Prohibition and the War on Drugs, not just because of what it says, but more importantly because of who says it.

Having said that, I am truly disappointed that the Report says almost nothing about regulation, let alone, legalisation of the supply of drugs. It can be argued that the call in the Principles for «experimentation by governments with models of legal regulation of drugs to undermine the power of organized crime» [p.2] gives room to include alternative such as the legalisation of the supply. I am rather sceptical about that — the Report is quite franc and bold in many respects, so why be so ambiguous and imprecise on a matter as important as the supply side of the equation. More to the point, I would be prepared to give the Report the benefit of the doubt, were it not for two salient facts:

1. The word supply is mentioned just 9 times throughout the whole document, of which half happen to be in Recommendation No. 6, which is more about fighting organised crime and less about legalisation of the supply (or the possibility/convenience of legalising the supply).

2. The same Recommendation No.6 explicitly states that « This [the fact that the illicit nature of the market is what creates much of the market-related violence] does not necessarily mean that creating a legal market is the only way to undermine the power and reach of drug trafficking organizations.»

I’ve been trying to make the case for the legalisation of both the demand and the supply in my blog (in particular in two posts: Hypocrite, Who?...and Half Full or Half Empty…). As I argue in the latter:

«What good is it to legalise the demand while the supply, the real villain in this story, as we have been told again and again, [and the Report itself recognises it as well] is left to continue prospering in its murderous business?»

Gart Valenc

I see no rational point in

I see no rational point in using drugs but I have to admit that legalizing drugs could be a potential solution. I believe If these drugs were legalized they could be controlled, regulated and taxed. However, the tax revenues would have to be used for education and rehabilitation. 

Foresight is a Virtue

Toward the bottom of the CBS News webpage, in the countdown of  “Hot Topics”, today in the news, little marijuana ranks Number 8 after readers’ interest in China, United Nations, Social Security, North Korea, Terrorism, Capital Punishment, and Immigration.

Not bad.  Not bad at all.

Clicking ‘Marijuana’ leads to the CBS weed section, where we find the almighty CBS news team conceding the government’s defeat in its war of convenience targeting users of cannabinoids. 

Jimmy Carter nailed it on the environment, energy and drugs in the late 70s.  Then came Ronnie and Nancy Reagan.  The Reagans might have had some minor claim to fame were it not for their drug war crusade.  Funny how a failed war can turn a politician’s track record into a train wreck, sooner or later.

For its apologists, a drug war is radioactive.


For its apologists, a drug war is radioactive.

I fervently hope so!  Because it is scary, right now, looking at what is happening all across the nation -- attacks by legislators and governors on the MMJ laws (old and new, passed by the people or enacted by previous legislators) in addition to the increased number of raids on dispensaries and growers and even legal patients.  Are they not afraid people will begin to fight back?  WILL people begin to fight back?  Or, will they lie down and just let the uSofA turn into one of those horrible tyrannical countries our government is always telling us we must end the tyranny by making war (cold or hot) on them?


I just made a contribution to stopthedrugwar and I forgot to mention in the comment section at the bottom of the form what a great job Borden, Guard, Smith and Morgan do.

Whereas I have gotten to the point that I can't even muster an argument any more against drug prohibition without sputtering and collapsing onto my knees with a migraine, these guys somehow manage to keep the faith, and then keep making better and better and better arguments against prohibition on our behalf. Thanks.

borden's picture

Thank you, for the

Thank you, for the contribution but especially for the encouragement. Our work would mean much, much less without the participation of people like you.

- Dave

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