“Decriminalization [of drugs] does not result in increased drug use. […] It is time to end the war on drugs worldwide. We must stop criminalizing drug users. Health and treatment should be offered to drug users – not prison. Bad drug policies affect literally hundreds of thousands of individuals and communities across the world. We need to provide medical help to those that have problematic use – not criminal retribution.” – Richard Branson
I guess this is just what I have to say to entities such as DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart who told the Major Counties Sheriffs’ Association that Obama’s comments comparing marijuana’s dangers to alcohol – were a “big slap in the face” to cops murdered while enforcing drug laws.
If those cops are dead for busting marijuana users and/or cartels, then that is more a function of marijuana being illegal in the first place, not the President’s comments pointing out the dangers, or lack thereof, of them.
Secondly, stating that marijuana – which currently is a Schedule I drug – meaning that it has a high potential for abuse and absolutely no medical benefits – is far less harmful than alcohol which is legal – is merely stating medical facts; it is, in no shape, a judgment on those who performed their duty while enforcing policies they did not formulate.
The thing of it is, making drugs illegal – any kind of drugs really, not just cannabis – and sending those who use them to jail, thus criminalizing the act, is not only a waste of our sparse resources, but it leads to nowhere. If people abuse drugs – just like with alcohol – which does have a very high abuse potential and no medical benefits – then they need medical treatment, not jail time and criminal retribution. Sending someone who suffers from the disease of addiction to jail is no different than incarcerating someone suffering from cancer or Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
It was high time, pun not intended, that we focused our attention and resources on actually helping people who suffer, not locking them up, demonizing them or else punishing them for drug abuse.