(Phillip Schneider, Waking Times) There is no evidence that the war on drugs has made the American people safer, more healthy, or more free. Contrarily, prohibition has proven to yield some catastrophic results. Incredible numbers of otherwise law-abiding citizens have had their lives destroyed due to corrupt anti-drug laws which protect the pharmaceutical and private prison industries. Families have been torn apart and patients have been denied medical treatment options such as cannabis oil for seizures due to these failed policies and hysteria surrounding drug use.
Former police Chief Norm Stamper agrees and has been fighting the failing war on drugs for over a decade. Norm spent most of his life serving as an officer for the San Diego Police Department from 1966-1994. He later became Seattle Police Chief from 1994-2000, and now he works as an advisory board member for LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) and NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws).
Norm believes that current drug policy not only wastes an enormous amount of time and money, but leads communities to view the police as a “military-like occupier presence” as opposed to the classic community policeman that existed before the war on drugs was declared. He even goes so far as to call it “the most damning and destructive social policy since slavery.”
“What we’ve been doing since the declaration of the war on drugs is pitting the police against young people, pitting the police against people of color, wildly disproportionate numbers of whom are going to prison behind simple possession cases.” – Norm Stamper
It is widely believed that if the war on drugs was to be ended and the money currently being used to fight it was redirected into addiction treatment options and lower taxes, many positive outcomes would be realized. Crime would go down because users wouldn’t have to turn to drug cartels to calm their addictions, the economy would get a huge boost because of the money we would be saving by ending the war, and addicts would be able to seek treatment without fear of incarceration. All in all, It would be a win-win for the economy, civil liberties, as well as the people’s safety and well-being.
“We have spent one trillion dollars prosecuting the drug war since Richard Nixon declared war on drugs in 1971. Another 69 billion dollars a year down the rat hole and what do we have to show for it? Drugs are more available today at lower prices and higher levels of potency than in the history of the drug war.” – Norm Stamper
Ending The War On Drugs
It appears as though activists like Norm Stamper are slowly dissolving the hysteria surrounding drug use and leaning law enforcement and the public toward rational drug reform.
“We’re really talking about the people’s laws and if we’re not satisfied with the laws that our federal government is enforcing then we’ve really got to take a look at what our responsibility is.” – Norm Stamper
In the end it’s we the people who have the power to change the way people view the role of drugs, as well as the policies that are implemented by our elected representatives. Even if it’s at a local or state-wide level, the power that people have to shape their communities is bigger than we are led to believe. Ultimately, we are not a government with a people, but a people with a government.