top
Newswire
Calendar
Features
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Related Categories: U.S. | Drug War | Police State & Prisons | Racial Justice
Readaloud: Dan Baum "Legalize It All: How to win the war on drugs"
by WTUL News & Views
Sunday Mar 27th, 2016 1:20 PM
Gone viral: an excerpt of Dan Baum's piece, "Legalize It All: How to win the war on drugs," recently published in the April 2016 issue of Harper's magazine, has been shared across social media, resulting in videos, quotes, tweets, and more. Here's the full piece, it's a long one, with policy recommendations, data, and more.
"We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with cannabis and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities".

Gone viral: an excerpt of Dan Baum's piece, "Legalize It All: How to win the war on drugs," recently published in the April 2016 issue of Harper's magazine, has been shared across social media, resulting in videos, quotes, tweets, and more.

Here's the full piece, it's a long one, with policy recommendations, data, and more.

In Part 1 you hear what social media is buzzing about. And what most drug policy advocates, harm reductionists, and social justice leaders have long recognized. "Most of what we hate and fear about drugs — the violence, the overdoses, the criminality — derives from prohibition, not drugs. And there will be no victory in this war either; even the Drug Enforcement Administration concedes that the drugs it fights are becoming cheaper and more easily available. Now, for the first time, we have an opportunity to change course. Experiments in alternatives to harsh prohibition are already under way both in this country and abroad."

In Part 2 the author defines our drug problem. It isn't simple drug use, as debilitating drug addiction is relatively small. Rather, Baum introduces policies in Portugal and around the world that have decriminalized drug use to treat it as a public health problem.

In Part 3 the author explores why decriminalization does not work in the US, and proposes that the advantages of a state monopoly over a free market — even a regulated one —are vast, since a government monopoly would be the least expensive and most flexible way to legalize drugs. It would generate the most revenue and — more important — it would protect public health.

In Part 4, the author explores his home state and the state furthest along this path, Colorado. "In 2009, Britain’s Transform Drug Policy Foundation put out a 232-page report called “After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for Regulation.” The authors suggested issuing licenses for buying and using drugs, with sanctions for those who screw up — much like gun licenses in some U.S. states, or driver’s licenses. Users would have their purchases tracked by computer, so rising use would, in theory, be noticed, making intervention possible. Legal vendors would bear partial responsibility for “socially destructive incidents” — the way bartenders can be held responsible for serving an obvious drunk who later has an accident behind the wheel. For pricing, the report suggests prices high enough to “discourage misuse, and sufficiently low to ensure that under-cutting . . . is not profitable for illicit drug suppliers.” And although the British group argued for a generally more laissez-faire market than European and Canadian government-run heroin-distribution systems, it embraced a complete ban on any kind of advertising and marketing, and argued instead for plain, pharmaceutical style packaging."

In Part 5, the author concludes, "Legalizing, and then regulating, drug markets will likely be messy, at least in the short term. Still, in a technocratic, capitalist, and fundamentally free society like the United States, education, counseling, treatment, distribution, regulation, pricing, and taxation all seem to better fit our national skill set than the suppression of immense black markets and the violence and corruption that come with it."
§Let’s start with a question...
by WTUL News & Views Sunday Mar 27th, 2016 1:20 PM
In Part 2 the author defines our drug problem. It isn't simple drug use, as debilitating drug addiction is relatively small. Rather, Baum introduces policies in Portugal and around the world that have decriminalized drug use to treat it as a public health problem.
§So why doesn’t the United States decriminalize?
by WTUL News & Views Sunday Mar 27th, 2016 1:20 PM
In Part 2 the author defines our drug problem. It isn't simple drug use, as debilitating drug addiction is relatively small. Rather, Baum introduces policies in Portugal and around the world that have decriminalized drug use to treat it as a public health problem.
§Colorado has allowed medical marijuana since 2000
by WTUL News & Views Sunday Mar 27th, 2016 1:20 PM
In Part 4, the author explores his home state and the state furthest along this path, Colorado. "In 2009, Britain’s Transform Drug Policy Foundation put out a 232-page report called “After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for Regulation.” The authors suggested issuing licenses for buying and using drugs, with sanctions for those who screw up — much like gun licenses in some U.S. states, or driver’s licenses. Users would have their purchases tracked by computer, so rising use would, in theory, be noticed, making intervention possible. Legal vendors would bear partial responsibility for “socially destructive incidents” — the way bartenders can be held responsible for serving an obvious drunk who later has an accident behind the wheel. For pricing, the report suggests prices high enough to “discourage misuse, and sufficiently low to ensure that under-cutting . . . is not profitable for illicit drug suppliers.” And although the British group argued for a generally more laissez-faire market than European and Canadian government-run heroin-distribution systems, it embraced a complete ban on any kind of advertising and marketing, and argued instead for plain, pharmaceutical style packaging."

In Part 5, the author concludes, "Legalizing, and then regulating, drug markets will likely be messy, at least in the short term. Still, in a technocratic, capitalist, and fundamentally free society like the United States, education, counseling, treatment, distribution, regulation, pricing, and taxation all seem to better fit our national skill set than the suppression of immense black markets and the violence and corruption that come with it."