Friday, March 27, 2009

From a small acorn...

For all of you crying for the government to "legalize it," I refer you to this.
Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) was guy who knocked off the odious George Allen in the 2006 elections. At the time, many lefties were both happy at Allen's demise and leery of Webb's resume, which included a stint as Reagan's Navy Secretary. They feared another Blue Dog conservative Democrat who would play both sides of the fence.
Webb has been a blessing, however. He was the guy who rammed through a long-overdue refit of the GI Bill that should help the VA better deal with the new wave of vets coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. It's too bad there wasn't anything in that bill about stringing up Bush and Cheney for their craven exploitation of good, patriotic Americans.
And now Webb has put forth a shocking thesis: Our justice system doesn't work! Uh, yeah, me and about everyone else who has dealt with the system or dealt with anyone who has ever dealt with the system could've told you that. What heartens me about Webb's proposal is his argument that simply locking everyone up doesn't work, nor does ignoring the mental health needs of people in the system. There's nothing in his press release about legalizing it. However, should Webb get a commission with some teeth, that is the place to start with the decriminalization arguments.
Should it stop with weed, though? For a long time, as long as I have had opinions about drugs, I've thought pot should be legal but coke, heroin, acid, speed and the like should remain criminalized. I've changed my mind. I think it should it all be legal now.
The quick argument is that people can abuse tobacco and alcohol, so why not the other stuff? I agree with that, but my thinking has gotten deeper recently. Yes, I do believe pot, coke, heroin, pills and the rest should be continue to be controlled. Kids shouldn't be able to buy them at Wal Mart, but consenting adults should be able to buy them at a pharmacy.
In the grand scheme, is a coke head or pill head really any more of a threat to society than a drunk? Has locking up junkies done anything to curb drug consumption? Do poor addicts get the same treatment in the justice system that rich addicts get?
You know the answers to those questions, just as I do. I vote for maintaining current spending levels for cops, courts and jails and ditching the drug war. That leaves more money and time to fight crime and frees society from spending hundreds of billions per year fighting private behavior. The streets aren't going to fill up with junkies; I've never tried smack, never even been curious and wouldn't try it even I could buy it at the drug store.

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