by the Prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the
government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be
enforced. - Albert Einstein
“There are over 2 million people incarcerated in local, state, and federal prisons in the United States, an incarceration rate of 743 per 100,000 people, which is high for a democracy (the incarceration rate is 325 in Israel, 217 in Poland, 154 in England and Wales, 96 in France, 71 in Denmark, and 32 in India). The number of people in jail has increased dramatically since the 1980s. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, incarceration rates between 1880 and 1970 ranged from about 100 to 200 prisoners per 100,000 people. After 1980, the inmate population began to grow much more rapidly than the overall population and the rate climbed from about 220 in 1980 to 458 in 1990, 683 in 2000, and 753 in 2008.
This increase didn’t have anything to do with a rise in crime. It mainly reflected changes in the correctional policies that determine who goes to prison and for how long. In particular, it had very much to do with the war on drugs.
Nonviolent drug offenders now account for about one-fourth of all inmates in the United States, up from less than 10 percent in 1980. The costs, of course, are staggering: State correctional spending now totals $52 billion a year, consuming one out of 14 general fund dollars; spending on corrections is the second fastest growth area of state budgets, following Medicaid.
The real tragedy is that so many children’s lives are destroyed along with those of their incarcerated parents. Over 50 percent of inmates are parents with minor children, including more than 120,000 mothers and 1.1 million fathers. One in every 28 children has a parent incarcerated, up from 1 in 125 just 25 years ago. Two-thirds of these children’s parents were incarcerated for nonviolent offenses.”
— Veronique de Rugy - ‘Prison Math’ and the War on Drugs | National Review
Ken Burns: Prohibition, Drug Laws, & Unintended Consequences
Nick Gillespie interviews filmmaker Ken Burns, the man behind the recent PBS series Prohibition
“People keep calling it medicine,” [Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske] said at a press conference [Thursday], “and that’s the wrong message for young people to hear.”
[…] Kerlikowske’s argument suggests that a drug should not be recognized as a medicine if teenagers can use to alter their consciousness. But as the Drug Policy Alliance’s Bill Piper observes, “In the field of medicine, whether or not a youth might abuse something doesn’t determine whether or not an adult should have access to a medication and whether a doctor should prescribe it.” Kerlikowske does not extend his logic to the stimulants, sedatives, tranquilizers, and opioid painkillers that can be legally obtained with a doctor’s prescription. +
Pretty sure watching grandma use marijuana to get through chemo wouldn’t exactly add to the allure of smoking it…
By making such competition impossible, prohibition creates uncertainty about the quality and purity of drugs, and more aggressive enforcement only makes the problem worse. To the extent that the government succeeds at its avowed goal of reducing cocaine purity, for example, it encourages more use of levamisole, resulting in more disease and death. Anyone who supports this policy has to accept the resulting casualties as a necessary cost of deterrence. Some must die so that others, seeing their example, will think twice about using drugs the government has deemed intolerable."
Judge Jim Gray on The Six Groups Who Benefit From Drug Prohibition