Saturday, July 29, 2006

Taking a world view on drugs

Norm Stamper posting at Alternet has a good column on legalization using the deteriorating situation in Mexico as example. He makes his case in the usual eloquent manner but here's the money quote.
The violence does not end with the capture or the killing of major players like the Arellano brothers. (Ramon was shot and killed by the federales in February of 2002; Benjamín was captured a month later. Francisco has been in prison for years.) As with the illicit drug scene in the United States, thousands of low-level drug-dealing wannabes are marking time -- waiting for today's kingpin to fall so they can move up.
Meanwhile, David Borden at DRC Net weighs in this week with an editorial on Afghanistan's similar struggle with the heroin trade. Noting support for sensible drug policy in England he writes:
What some of the Tories are saying is that it's unrealistic to think we can be effective against an industry that makes up 50% of the struggling nation's economy, that when eradication efforts happen, they drive farmers into the Taliban's corner and seem correlated with outbreaks of violence, that instituting a legal opium crop (which could be used and is actually somewhat needed for the legal medical market) would reduce the illicit market and deal a blow to evil-doers by bringing the money above-board and reducing their access to it.
Unfortunately in all countries, even the mildest attempts at sensible policy reform are thwarted under pressure by the US prohibitionists who depend on the war on some drugs for their living and their status. So we must fight for a sane approach against those who claim to protect us, even though the answer could not be clearer. You want to eliminate black market drug dealers and keep drugs out of the hands of children? Legalize and regulate. It's that simple.


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