Sunday, June 26, 2011


It's been well over 40 years since America's favorite President, Richard Nixon declared his "War On Drugs". As you can see outside your window, the decades long struggle to penalize the masses for using illegal substances has been a success. 
OK so you know I'm kidding. 
We, the American taxpayer, have spent over a Trillion dollars and have incarcerated millions of people for drug infractions. Money and energy that could have been better spent on recovery programs from coast to coast with most of the allotted funds available for domestic infrastructure and healthcare.
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) introduced legislation last Thursday to end the federal ban on marijuana and let the states decide how to manage it.
“The legislation would limit the federal government’s role in marijuana enforcement to cross-border or inter-state smuggling, allowing people to legally grow, use or sell marijuana in states where it is legal,” according to the Marijuana Policy Project, which advocates for pot legalization. 
Congressman Frank said the goal of the bill, HR 2306, is not to legalize marijuana but to remove it from the list of federally controlled substances while allowing states to decide how they will regulate it.
Quoted in the LA Times, he said: "I do not advocate urging people to smoke marijuana. Neither do I urge them to drink alcoholic beverages or smoke tobacco. But in none of these cases do I think prohibition enforced by criminal sanctions is good public policy."
He then added: "Criminally prosecuting adults for making the choice to smoke marijuana is a waste of law enforcement resources and an intrusion on personal freedom." I guess it would be hard to tell Barney Frank from Ron Paul on this subject, so it's not such a shock to see both sponsoring this bill.
Other than our own Maurice Hinchey calling for the complete legalization of Marijuana and getting little support, this is the first time the effort has been bi-partisan and achieved any publicity. 

More than a dozen states allow the sale of medical marijuana, but the practice is not legal under federal law so there are messy clashes within divisions of law enforcement. In the middle of all of this is a coalition of officers called LEAP. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. You can find more on them by going to 
Several months ago, President Obama was asked in an interview about this same subject. That video is below:

Last week, to commemorate the anniversary, a group of former law enforcement officials unveiled a new report detailing the failures of the government's long battle against illegal drugs and denounces the Obama administration's current drug policies.
When we consider the amount of money American taxpayers spend to continue this failed policy, our ability to complain about many of the other expenditures diminishes greatly. Our own county corrections employees admit putting our resources to better use would change the quality of life throughout the Hudson Valley region. Might even change the gang landscape in the Newburgh area. But until something happens on the federal level and the state of New York follows with drastic changes to drug policy, we stand no chance.


Anonymous said...

I agree completely. The info is there. Now it will just take some time for people to adjust their thought process. LEAP is quite convincing. Prohibition just does not work. I think it's hard for Law Enforcement officials who have been "fighting" drugs for decades to admit to themselves that this does not work. Just glad that there is now a discussion in the political arenas.

Anonymous said...

A Progressive in Kingston. Very rare. Thank you for posting this. It's not very often that we see someone in any political office talk about what is reality vs fantasy.
Law enforcement agencies are slow to change, but the corporate institutions will outright resist because it hurts their bottom line.
Lets not forget about the companies that manufacture everything that goes into building and maintaining jails. There's a lobby no-one thinks about.

Truth is, we need to create such a groundswell of public opinion to alter the way we deal with drug abuse. The crime associated comes from the prohibition and prosecution through law enforcement. If the substance was procurable legally, all the druglords and the gangs that play conduit would vanish. Managing rehabs for addicts would be money better spent.


Anonymous said...

There is a bigger picture. Industries that rely on Americans resisting change all depend on Hemp remaining illegal in all of it's forms.
Whether you have ties to paper, clothing, drug development, oil production or even law enforcement, these are industries that will spend serious money to keep Marijuana illegal. Everything about their profit margin depends on it.
If you think their shallow concern for public health is sincere, think again. It's all about money.
Prominent anti-drug-crime entrepreneurs are on the ready to jump into marketing the stuff the minute it becomes legal and profitable.
They're not stupid. We are.

Anonymous said...

Can we all agree at this point that Alcohol is far worse than Marijuana? I mean seriously, how many people get stoned and then get the briliant idea to hold up a liquor store or fight with their spouse? None, they all lay down and dream about unicorns and lollypops.

The prohibition of pot developed because the tobacco companies didnt want competition to their poison. The financial impact that Alcohol and tobacco has to the taxpayers in the way of medical intervention and end of life services is enough to bury a small state.

Legalize and tax marijuana and clear out the jails. Enough is enough.

Anonymous said...

What about the prescription pain killers that drug dealers lust over.? Enough so that they are willing to kill in a drugstore situation. Am wondering if the same situation would arise with legalized marijuana. They will be hitting the head shops/medical clinic to get the product due to people not being able to get a script for the product. How does one control the product (ex. being laced with unknown substances and etc.) It almost becomes a slipery slope when the door gets open a crack. Perhaps we will see more ER visits or death from what has been classified an "innocent" drug.

Anonymous said...

12:45, I will be honest and say that you appear to be sincere but horribly misinformed and downright ingnorant about marijuana and prohibition. If it was legalized for medicinal purposes, a major black market would still exist so everyone except those with medicinal reasons would be able to obtain. If it was legalized 100%, 100's of studies, knowledge, and experience shows that the number of users would not go up much, if at all. And, I guess you've never ingested marijuana but I have never seen/heard of ANYONE committing a crime to obtain it. That is the "reefer madness" effect or as some call, ignorance. Alcohol is much, much worse than marijuana with no wheres near the number of wonderful benefits. BECOME INFORMED. Knowledge is everything. A major underling issue is that with hemp (marijuana) being legal, it would destroy big corporations and therefore will spend boat loads of $$$ fighting legalization.

Anonymous said...

The 220 grand that Mathews apparently stole is reflective of a national trend--the drug war benefits law enforcement. Why? Because as usual the lawmakers are AWOL--and there is no consistent policy to guide anyone as to how that seized money should be disposed.
The real issue is that no one wins in this war except sometimes entire police departments get to have some perks of the job such as entertainment and deluxe coffee pots for the office(next thing you know they will buy donut makers too).
If you legalize Marijuana, then also legalize everything else. It can't be worse than what we have now.