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June 16, 2011

Lordy, Lordy Look Who's 40: The War on Drugs

War-on-drugs-300x300 Where were you when the War on Drugs was launched 40 years ago by President Richard Nixon?

I was about to turn 3 years old, living with my mom and soon-to-be stepdad at the infamous Earth People's Park commune in Norton, Vt. I guess they were trying to dodge the draft on that war, not to mention the one still being waged in Vietnam.

Tomorrow marks the 40th anniversary of the "War on Drugs" and, to celebrate on the eve of a national day of action, a leading foe of the drug war — the National Drug Policy Alliance — is holding a press conference today in Washington, D.C. Among the featured speakers is one of Vermont's homegrown pols: Gov. Peter Shumlin. Joining him will be Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and the Rev. Al Sharpton, among others.

The event is being held at the Newseum, and will be streamed live. Shumlin will participate at the event via Skype from his fifth-floor offices in the Pavilion Building in Montpelier, according to his spokeswoman. .

Shumlin has been a proponent of decriminalization — not legalization — of marijuana. A bill introduced this past session by Rep. Jason Lorber (D-Burlington) to decriminalize the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana went nowhere, largely due to opposition from House Speaker Shap Smith (D-Morristown).

A study conducted on Lorber's behalf found that Vermont spent about $700,000 annually to investigate, prosecute and lock up people who were simply in possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. "It's time for a smarter approach," Lorber said, as he has done repeatedly.

Last year, the Burlington City Council balked at putting a nonbinding marijuana legalization measure on the November ballot.

The event comes on the heels of a report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which earlier this month claimed: "The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world."

In the introduction to the report, the commissioned noted, "Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and 40 years after President Nixon launched the U.S. government’s war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed. Vast expenditures on criminalization and repressive measures directed at producers, traffickers and consumers of illegal drugs have clearly failed to effectively curtail supply or consumption. Apparent victories in eliminating one source or trafficking organization are negated almost instantly by the emergence of other sources and traffickers. Repressive efforts directed at consumers impede public health measures to reduce HIV/AIDS, overdose fatalities and other harmful consequences of drug use. Government expenditures on futile supply reduction strategies and incarceration displace more cost-effective and evidence-based investments in demand and harm reduction."

Members of the commission include Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations; Richard Branson, entrepreneur and founder of the Virgin Group; and the former presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Switzerland. George P. Shultz and Paul Volcker are the U.S. representatives to the commission.

The commission proposes a new strategy in this "war." They include:

• Ending the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but do no harm to others;

• Challenging rather than reinforcing common misconceptions about drug markets, drug use and drug dependence;

• Encouraging experimentation by governments with models of legal regulation of drugs to undermine the power of organized crime and safeguard the health and security of their citizens;

• Focusing repressive actions on violent criminal organizations in ways that undermine their power and reach;

• Investing in activities that can both prevent young people from taking drugs in the first place and also prevent those who do use drugs from developing more serious problems; and

• Breaking the taboo on debate and reform.

Oceania has always been at war with drugs...

If you want a vision of the future Totten, picture a boot stamping on a joint forever...

I think with Obama's war in Libya and the lawsuit that was levied against him today over usurping the War Powers Act and overstepping his authority by refusing to answer to Congress, well... the war on drugs just seems like a stupid topic to discuss.

It's illegal, plain and simple. As was stated in another post....Get over it.

I don't use drugs but I resent the hell out of Army helicopters hovering over our homes looking for weed. I resent pee tests for people who have never been convicted of anything. Roadblocks, cameras, task forces ad nauseam. Multi decade sentences for senior citizens...
This war has taken away more of our rights than any other cause I can name. There's about nine million exceptions to the Exclusionary Rule thanks to "drugs" andthe Fourth Amendment has been shot full of holes.

The Drug war eats freedom and shits fascism. I am not going to get over it.

"Consider only the most recent raid to cause a national outrage: On May 5, 2011, 26-year-old Jose Guerena, who survived two tours in the Iraq War, was shot and killed during a raid on his house by a Pima County, Arizona SWAT team that fired dozens of bullets through his front door. Guerena, married and a father of two, had just finished a 12-hour shift at a local mine. Law enforcement sources claim he was involved in narco-trafficking but have yet to produce any evidence supporting that claim. Officers involved in the death have been cleared of wrongdoing.

Guerena's death is not an isolated incident. As USA Today reports, an astonishing 70,000 to 80,000 militarized police raids take place on a annual basis in America, many of them on mistaken suspects and many of them ending with injury or death for police and citizens alike."

Tim, they didn't shoot the man for nothing. He obviously had to have been not cooperating in some manner.

It's like the professor from the beer summit who was arrested for breaking in to his own house. Had he cooperated with the cop he would have been fine, instead he chose to not to cooperate and the cop acted accordingly.

While it is tragic the man was shot, if the cops were cleared there had to have been due cause. Whether he had drugs or not therefore becomes irrelevant.

Lesson, if you have nothing to hide the don't. Let the cops come in search, ask questions and leave. Afterall, that is their job.

Having lost several friends to drug abuse, I do have a rather severe issue with them. Time to stop with the slap on the wrists and start cracking down with real sentences. Stop the fines and deferred sentences, 5 years in the clink will stop the little wanna be thug selling dime bags on the corner. A $400 fine and a week of work crew only means he needs to sell more.

Thanks JC, but we're going to have to disagree on this.

No problem Tim, I respect your point of view.

Everyone has a different opinion.

It's not a war unless there are two armies!

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