Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Legalization gets a hearing

In a rare, high-level slap at statist orthodoxy, an international conference held in Vancouver, B.C., intended to advise the United Nations on drug policy, focused the majority of its attention on legalization. Canadian prohibitionist Judi Lalonde even complained, "Representation from the groups for legalization are probably about 95 percent, to possibly 5 percent in the area of prevention. I’m quite disappointed with the whole process of the last few days.” The Vancouver Sun was sufficiently incensed by the pro-legalization consensus that it editorialized against any loosening of restrictions on politically incorrect narcotics and attacked Jack Cole, founder of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, for his organization's support of across-the-board legalization.

Well, it's nice to see the handcuffs-and-prison brigade feel threatened for once.

Speaking of LEAP, Cole and company earned the Province's wrath and drew mentions in the press by giving voice to current and former police officers, judges and the like who argue that prohibition has been a horrible failure. There's nothing like seeing former drug warriors argue for recognizing people's right to decide for themselves what intoxicants they will or will not imbibe to add credibility to the cause. To some people, the idea of individual autonomy is a shocking concept to hear coming from a policeman's mouth.

Ironically, it wasn't long ago that Canadian authorities meekly surrendered "Prince of Pot" Marc Emery to U.S. authorities to serve hard time for running a Canadian business that would have violated draconian American drug laws -- if it were located in the United States.

One conference is good, but there's still a long way to go.



Blogger Kevin Killough said...

You're right there is a long way to go, and I'm a bit more pessimistic about it than you. While a conference on drug policy in Vancouver heavily weighted toward legalization is cause to smile, initiatives in Colorado and Nevada to tax and regulate marijuana both failed to pass in 2006 despite aggressive and well funded campaigns.

Why law enforcement believes it's a good thing to enforce a law that just under half the country doesn't support, I don't know. But until more do support a change in drug policy, the laws really won't change.

And unfortunately, the over 50 percent that vote against legalization never seem to want to budge, no matter what completely rational arguments you throw their way.

They just can't shake their fear that someone somewhere is getting high right now and not suffering for it.

February 6, 2008 12:35 PM  

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