The Medical Marijuana Magazine


Source: Media Awareness Project

Important Questions

In 1988 Kurt Schmoke, then and now the Mayor of Baltimore, astounded the country by calling for a debate on alternatives to the war on drugs, including legalization of currently illegal drugs. Mayor Schmoke has posed three questions to his constituents; their answers don't express confidence in existing policy.

Schmoke's questions are: Do you think we've won the Drug War? Do you think we're winning the Drug War? If we keep doing what we're doing now, in 10 years, will we have won the Drug War?

In the same spirit, we invite legislators and policy makers to address the following questions regarding the "War on Drugs."

  1. We spend $50 billion per year trying to eradicate drugs from this country. According to DEA estimates we capture less than 10 percent of all illicit drugs. In this regard, I have a two part question 1) How much do you think it will cost to stop the other ninety percent? 2) Does $50 billion a year for a 90% failure rate seem like a good investment to you?
  2. White people buy most of the illegal drugs in this country. Yet, seventy four percent of those receiving prison sentences for drug possession are African-American and other minorities. Is race a factor in the enforcement of drug laws, and if not, how can we prove that to skeptics?
  3. Has the cost of the War on Drugs in terms of billions of dollars, blighted lives, jammed prisons, intensified racism, needless deaths, loss of freedom etc., produced any significant change in drug availability or perceived patterns of drug use?
  4. Someone once said "Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and make crime out of things that are not crimes." How do you respond to this statement?
  5. It is estimated that 45 million U.S. citizens have tried an illicit drug at least once. How many of the 45 million drug users do you feel we must incarcerate in order to win the war on drugs?
  6. Why does the FDA stand up for the right of adults to smoke tobacco, which is highly addictive and causes over 400,000 deaths per year, while decreeing that adults have no right to smoke marijuana, which is non-addictive and kills no one?
  7. Drug use is an acknowledged fact of life in every prison in the country. If we can't stop prisoner' use of drugs, how can we rationally expect to stop average free citizens from using them?
  8. Despite signatures from 85 prominent groups and individuals, why has the Hoover Resolution (a call for an independent panel to revue existing drug policies) not been considered, accepted, or initiated?
  9. What lessons from alcohol prohibition lead you to believe that the current drug war will end in victory?
  10. Fifty-two federal judges, the district attorney of San Francisco, The mayor of Baltimore, the vast majority of prison wardens, and numerous other respected officials consider the war on drugs an abject failure. More than a few important Americans are opposed to the drug war. Since no other US laws or policies are inspiring such resistance, shouldn't we be listening to the many voices which are saying that continuing the war on drugs may be a grave threat to the long-term health of this nation?
  11. At a time when working people are being asked to tighten our belts in order to help balance the budget, how do you justify increasing the funding to the drug law enforcement bureaucracy? Explain why supporting a failed policy of drug law enforcement has a greater priority than student loans or drug education programs.
  12. What do you conclude from the experience of Holland--a country where drugs fall under the jurisdiction of health agencies, not law enforcement--which hasseen a decline in chronic use of hard drugs and casual use of soft drugs since de-criminalization?
  13. If illegal drugs are so obviously harmful to people's health, why is it necessary to put so many American adults in prison to prevent them from using these drugs?
  14. In drug policy discussions we hear a lot about the "message" that certain policies may send to children. What message is sent to inner city children who witness illegal drug sales on their way to school each day?
  15. The modern drug war began in the 1960s, and for thirty five years it has failed to reduce drug access to school-aged children. Which is better for America during the next 35 years, prohibition with continued school-aged access to drugs OR reform policies that ease prohibition but reduce school-age access?
  16. Drug prohibition has been one of the biggest U.S. domestic policy failures of the late twentieth century. Why is a perpetuation of this failure more desirable than serious consideration of alternative policy options?
  17. Why should 270 million citizens continue to pay $50 billion per year to try to change the habits of 20 million people, considering that this policy has not been able to change those habits in 82 years and at a total cost of nearly one trillion dollars?

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