Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Legalization Is the Only Answer

The other Mexican president (not AMLO) is proposing the decriminalization of most street drugs. In the past, I've been torn on this strategy. Marijuana, sure, but there's no denying the destructive effects of meth, heroin, and cocaine. But after this past year of decapitations, torture, and violence in Mexico, it's obvious that there will be no victory in the war on drugs. And now, with the Bush administration's cynical decision to blacklist Bolivia because of some purported increase in cocaine production (coming suspiciously shortly after the U.S. ambassodor's expulsion from the country for being a coup-plotting anti-democratic opposition supporter), it's clear that the war on drugs is--intentionally or not--a war on the poor, whether African-Americans back home or cocaleros in the Andes, or, now, the working poor who depend on exports to the U.S. to make a living.

(While seraching for links for the above, I just stumbled upon an excerpt of the book Belching Out The Devil: Global Adventures With Coca-Cola, by Mark Thomas. It's frustrating that Colombia is a favored partner of the U.S., with its terrible history and current climate of rights abuses, while Bolivia is demonized only because it has a "socialist" leader. Hrmph.)

1 comment:

Bina said...

I'm fine with complete legalization of marijuana because it's not physically addictive (psychologically? Well, that's another story), and because no one's ever died of a pot overdose that I can think of. Plus, when's the last time you saw a pothead kill anyone for a fix? Doesn't happen. The worst they do is get the munchies. And laugh at stupid things. (I'll never forget the pot brownie that made me laugh at a Tom Green ad. Now, THAT was surreal. And sobering as hell.)

If anyone is really serious about stamping out the drug problem, I suggest they deal with the demand end, since it's obvious that tackling the supply side is a non-starter. Find out what makes people turn to drugs, then fix that. And in the meantime, put needle exchanges, detox tanks, and methadone clinics in every downtown hospital, wherever there's a known drug problem. Focus on harm reduction first, detox next, and recovery after that. If governments were willing to spend money on that, I guarantee they won't have to waste so much on drug interdiction, glyphosate spraying, and grow-op busts.

BTW, all the ingredients of crystal meth are legally available, but the main one shouldn't be. If they criminalized the production of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine (which are dangerous, addictive drugs in their own right), the meth problem would dry up--but that means cutting into a MAJOR source of profit for Big Pharma (namely, OTC cold remedies), so I guess it'll be a cold day at the Equator before THAT happens.