I like to make a distinction between naturally occurring mind altering substances and man made drugs. Naturally occurring substances should be totally legal and drugs should be regulated. But for the purposes of this discussion, think for a minute how quickly our world would be transformed if we took all of the money we spend on the “war on drugs” and spent it on alternative energy and environmental issues. If we took all of the money spent on:
criminal and military foreign drug assistance
department of corrections
state and federal bureaucracies
We would save Billions of $$$ every year to spend on getting off the carbon economy:
Not to mention the taxes we could raise:
How many marginalized lives could be restored:
How much suffering could be reduced:
Are the 305 million people living in the United States the most evil in the world? Is this the reason why the U.S., with 5 percent of the world’s population, has 25 percent of the world’s prisoners and an incarceration rate five times as high as the rest of the world?
Or is it a matter of a criminal justice system that has gone dramatically wrong, swamping the prison system with drug offenders?
That rhetorical question, asked on the floor of the U.S. Senate by Virginia Senator Jim Webb, fits into what looks like an accelerating shift in public sentiment on the way that a long parade of administrations has been dealing with illegal drugs.
Advocates of drug reform sensed a change in the public mood even before Webb, a Democrat who served as secretary of the Navy under Republican Ronald Reagan, introduced a bill last month to set up a blue-ribbon commission of “the greatest minds” in the country to review the criminal justice system and recommend reforms within 18 months.
No aspect of the system, according to Webb, should escape scrutiny, least of all “the elephant in the bedroom in many discussions … the sharp increase in drug incarceration over the past three decades. In 1980, we had 41,000 drug offenders in prison; today we have more than 500,000, an increase of 1,200 percent.”