Update :: Thursday, April 2, 2009 --
The success of drug decriminalization in Portugal - by Glenn GreenwaldThe article includes a link to the just published article in the Time's by Joe Klien advocating marijuana legalization. Greenwald also details why President Obama is not releasing the "torture memos" as ordered. That's of interest to the Report because of Taser use and torture.
Here is an interesting interview on Democracy Now with Norm Stamper about why drugs, specially marijuana, should be legal in America. Norm Stamper is a thirty-four-year police officer who retired as Seattle’s chief of police in 2000. He is an advisory board member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and a speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. He is the author of Breaking Rank: A Top Cop’s Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing."
Here's an excerpt relating to his common sense efforts to reform marijuana laws:
NORM STAMPER: I actually support the legalization of all drugs. And in fact, the more dangerous or sinister or sensationally reported the experience of certain drugs, the greater the justification for the government, as opposed to drug cartels and street traffickers, to regulate that commerce. There’s been more harm done by the drug war than good. We have spent a trillion dollars prosecuting that war since Richard Nixon proclaimed drugs public enemy number one and declared all-out war on them.
And what do we have to show for it? While rates can fluctuate, drugs are more readily available today at lower prices and higher levels of potency than ever before. So it’s a colossal failure. And the only way to put these cartels out of business and to restore health and safety to our neighborhoods is to regulate that commerce as opposed to prohibiting it.
NORM STAMPER: Last week in Minnesota, before a state house committee, a committee that is considering medical marijuana, I was accused of disrespecting police officers. I quickly corrected that police chief, who was wearing a yellow tie with the language “police lines, do not cross." I apologized if I gave the impression, because I have the deepest respect for frontline police officers. They didn’t make these laws. They are victims of the tension and the hostility that is associated with enforcing or prosecuting the drug war. So it’s not our frontline cops that we need to be concerned about.
The vast majority of police officers, I believe, would legalize marijuana today. They have varying views on the other drugs. Many officers, including police chiefs and sheriffs, have whispered their support to me. When I say, “Well, may I quote you?” the response is, “What have you been smoking? No, you cannot do that.”
You know, some have suggested that President Obama’s dismissal of the marijuana issue last week in the online town hall meeting was done because it’s the third rail. Well, we’ve made it that. Americans have, in fact, bought the propaganda of the drug war. We can’t conceive of it as a public health issue, this whole issue of drug use and drug abuse and prevention and education and treatment, as well as enforcement. We need to rethink it. We need to have the courage, the will and sort of the analytical take on the systemic implications that are associated with the drug war and recognize that there is a much better alternative out there. And I think a whole lot of cops understand it. Certainly, the 10,000 members of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition get it.