The New York Times editorial board made history yesterday, as the first major national paper to call for an end to marijuana prohibition. And how they did it is half the story – with rare flash and panache, as well as the intellectual and moral substance to back it up.
World Wide Cannabis News
Most arguments in favor of prohibition don’t pass the smell test anymore, yet some of the more entrenched positions remain. Here is some perspective on these arguments, and why they’re plain wrong.
1. Prohibition doesn’t inhibit drug use, just our ability to prevent drug abuse.
Legal or not, people will continue to use drugs. Prohibition makes it socially acceptable to treat drug users as criminals, and to prevent people with substance abuse problems from accessing treatment for fear of legal repercussions. Decriminalization and legalization would promote compassion and allow people to receive treatment for substance abuse problems when they need it.
The New York Times has joined the majority of US citizens in the call for a more rational marijuana policy. The White House responded with an attempt to explain why a taxed and regulated market is no “silver bullet solution.” Alluding to The Lone Ranger probably wasn’t a great idea, but I think they mean that this isn’t a panacea for every problem related to cannabis.
Perhaps the terrible truth of drug war violence will finally be addressed as all of America bore witness this summer to the horror of some 52,000 unaccompanied children who were fleeing devastating violence that had erupted in Central America. Alone, they had braved the treacherous crossing of the border that divides America from Mexico and most of us first encountered them when we saw the smallest of children, terrified, and being held in cages. Those images put before our national consciousness the most heart-wrenching cost of the American taxpayer funded drug war: how it displaces and disassembles the lives of defenseless children. But the truth children have always been casualties of this failed war, both in Central and Latin America, and here in the U.S.
In a report published earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) made a clear call for broad drug policy reforms, including decriminalization of drug use, harm reduction practices such as syringe exchange and opioid substitution therapy, and a ban on compulsory treatment for people who use drugs. This report by the United Nations’ leading health agency focuses on best practices to prevent, diagnose and treat HIV among key populations.