Not So Fast
Calling the global war on drugs a costly failure, a group of high-profile world leaders is urging the Obama administration and other governments to end "the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but do no harm to others."
A report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which includes former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and past presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Colombia, recommends that governments try new ways of legalizing and regulating drugs, especially marijuana, as a way to deny profits to drug cartels.
The recommendation was swiftly dismissed by the Obama administration and the government of Mexico, which are allied in a violent 4 1/2 -year-old crackdown on cartels that has killed more than 38,000 people in Mexico. [Emphasis added]
Like the Global War On Terror, this White House loves itself some Global War on Drugs, especially those coming from Mexico. The fact that neither has been particularly effective, and the latter has resulted in thousands of deaths without slowing the traffic one bit, doesn't seem to bother this White House, just as it didn't the last one. Keeping that war going is all that apparently matters.
Instead, President Obama would rather add a few dollars to the budget for drug prevention and will offer some verbal support to drug courts at the state level, while he funnels millions of dollars into military assistance to the president of Mexico to defeat the drug cartels in that country. At the same time, his Attorney General has decided to start harassing states in this country with medical marijuana provisions.
Zero tolerance, no matter how wrongheaded it is (and it usually is, no matter what the subject) is the justification usually given, but the report addresses that as well.
The new report said the world's approach to limiting drugs, crafted 50 years ago when the United Nations adopted its "Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs," has failed to cut the supply or use of drugs. The report, citing figures from the world body, said global marijuana consumption rose more than 8% and cocaine use 27% between 1998 and 2008.
The group cited a U.N. estimate that 250 million people worldwide use illegal drugs, concluding, "We simply cannot treat them all as criminals."
More treatment options for addicts are needed, the report said. And it argued that arresting and incarcerating "tens of millions" of drug-producing farmers, couriers and street dealers have not answered economic needs that push many people into the trade.
The assessment cited studies of nations, such as Portugal and Australia, that found decriminalizing the use and possession of at least some drugs has not led significantly to greater use.
It doesn't matter to the current White House. It's got a war going on. It doesn't have time to listen.
Labels: Drug War