Unlike Bill Clinton, President Obama admits he inhaled!
“Frequently,” he said.
“That was the point.”
People laugh when politicians talk about their drug use.
The audience laughed during a 2003 CNN Democratic presidential
primary debate when John Kerry, John Edwards and
Howard Dean admitted smoking weed.
Yet those same politicians oversee a cruel system that now
stages SWAT raids on people’s homes more than 100 times
a day. People die in these raids — some weren’t even the
intended targets of the police.
Neill Franklin once led such raids. The 33-year Maryland
police veteran, now executive director of Law Enforcement
Against Prohibition, locked up hundreds of people for drugs
and felt good about it.
“We really thought that these drugs made people evil,” he
But 10 years ago Franklin decided that
drugs — even hard drugs — do much less harm to Americans than does the drug war.
can be — and are in many cases — problematic. But the policies that we
have in place to prohibit their use are 10 times more problematic.”
raids helped change his mind. “We end up with kids being shot... search
warrants being served on the wrong home, innocent people on the other
side of the door thinking that they are protecting their home.”
And the level of drug use remains about the same.
Still, most Americans support the drug war.
Chabot, White House drug adviser to Presidents George W. Bush and
Clinton, told me: “We should be kicking down more doors.... They’re
kicking the door of somebody who’s a violent person.”
People who get high are rarely violent. The violence occurs because
when something’s illegal, it is sold only on the black market. And that causes
crime. Drug dealers can’t just call the cops if someone tries to steal
their supply. So they form gangs and arm themselves to the teeth. “We
have the violence of these gangs competing for market share, and people
get hurt,” said Franklin.
Especially kids. Drug gangs constantly look for new recruits.
“Some of these gangs have better recruitment programs than Fortune 500 companies. They know what to say to kids.”
People think that if drugs were legal, there would be more recruiting of kids. Franklin says the opposite is true.
causes that. We don’t have kids on the corner [saying], ‘Pssst, I got a
fifth of Jack Daniel’s.’” Kids rarely peddle liquor, and there’s little
violence around liquor sales because alcohol is legal. There was lots
of violence before 1933, but that was because Prohibition forbade liquor
sales. Prohibition gave us Al Capone.
crime existed well before Prohibition,” Chabot replied. That’s true.
But much less of it. The murder rate rose when alcohol was banned. It
dropped when Prohibition was repealed. “If we were to do away with our
drug laws... we know drug usage numbers will skyrocket,” Chabot said.
But we don’t know
that. It’s logical to assume that, were it not for drug prohibition,
drug abuse would be rampant. But 10 years ago, Portugal decriminalized
every drug — crack, heroin, you name it. The number of abusers actually
Goulao, Portugal’s top drug official, said that before
decriminalization “we had a huge problem with drug use... around 100,000
people hooked on heroin.” Then they started treating drug use more like
a parking ticket. People caught with drugs get a slap on the wrist,
sometimes a fine. Independent studies have found the number of people in
Portugal who say they regularly do drugs stayed about the same. And the
best news, said Goulao: “Addiction itself decreased a lot.” At first,
police were skeptical of the law, but Joao Figueira, chief inspector of
Lisbon’s drug unit, told me that decriminalization changed lots of
level of conflicts on the street are reduced. Drug-related robberies are
reduced. And now the police are not the enemies of the consumers!” And
teen drug use is down. All good news. But in American and in most of the
world, the drug war continues, thousands are murdered and in ghettos
the police are enemies of the people.
Governments should wake up and learn something from the Portuguese.
John Stossel is host of “Stossel” on the Fox Business Network. He’s the author of Give Me a Break and of Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity. © 2012 Creators.com