Written on December 11th, 2014
Written on September 26th, 2012
Prohibition has failed -- again. Instead of treating the demand for illegal drugs as a market, and addicts as patients, policymakers the world over have boosted the profits of drug lords and fostered narcostates that would frighten Al Capone.
Today, there are more drugs on our streets at cheaper prices than ever before. There are more than 1.2 million people behind bars in the U.S., a large percentage of them for nonviolent drug usage. Under our failed drug policy, it is easier for young people to obtain illegal drugs than a six-pack of beer. Why? Because the sellers of illegal drugs don't ask kids for IDs. As soon as we outlaw a substance, we abandon our ability to regulate and control the marketing of that substance.
There is smarter approach usually called harm reduction. Reducing drug use is not nearly as important as reducing the death, disease, crime, and suffering associated with both drug misuse and failed policies of prohibition.
But there are signs of change in the wind. The US Congress recently reversed years of inaction to make sentencing for crack and powder cocaine more equal and proposition 19 on the ballot in CA in November would legalize marijuana.
I caught up with Ethan Nadelmann founder and executive director of the DRUG POLICY ALLIANCE in early July at a daylong conference in Los Angeles - New Directions California: A Public Health and Safety Approach to Drug Policy and he agreed to join me on the radio.
For info re CA Prop 19: Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010
This radio show aims to offer “pieces of the puzzle of a world that just might work.” I hope that if you listen a few times, you begin to imagine a future of revolutionary and evolutionary success.
My hope is rooted in this vision: Reality is not dead, mechanical, or separate; in fact, it is alive, evolving, and composed of interdependent systems.
I believe this worldview has been shared by indigenous peoples for millennia, revealed by science since early in the 20th century, and obvious every time we walk outside or look into the eyes of another living creature.
This vision inspires the annual Bioneers conference that takes place each fall (this year October 19-21) in San Rafael, just north of San Francisco. I’ll be talking with Bioneers founder and co-director, KEN AUSUBEL, and one of this year’s speakers, ELLEN BROWN, President of the Public Banking Institute and author of WEB OF DEBT.
Human creativity focused on problem solving can explode the narrative of despair. For the most part the solutions to our problems already exist. Bioneers focuses on strategies to help us realize these solutions by restoring community, justice and democracy.
Other speakers this year include BILL McKIBBEN, PAUL HAWKEN, ETHAN NADELMANN, GABOR MATE, and LA’s own JODIE EVANS and ANDY LIPKIS.