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CMS: Legalize Drugs
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What will it take to overhaul U.S. drug policy?


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49:30 minutes (23.76 MB)
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If you know anybody with a drug problem, the idea of legalization or decriminalization gets tougher to support.

If you've seen a friend or family member lose months and years to a habit that interferes with productivity, progress, ambition, relationships, intellectual development, it's a little harder to be glib a out all the benefits we can reap from taking drugs back from the outlaws. And if a family or a person you know has lived through the tragedy of a fatal overdose, well, the case may be impossible to make.

Even so, there are a strong set of arguments for drug legalization, and they seem to cross party lines. The late William F. Buckley supported the idea, as does former Republican Secretary of State Gorge Schultz. And today you will hear from Bob Painter, a doctor and former Republican city councilman, a guy who really lives his principles and who thinks legalization is a good strategy.

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Legalize Drugs

Mayor Carrie Saxon Perry tried to establish a libertarian City Drug Policy.  She was condemned as a Communist, a Socialist, one who favored legalization of drugs because she was black.

Amendment XVIII and XXI to the US Constitution
18) ...the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors... is hereby prohibited. (1919)
21) The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.... (1933)

Drug offenders who serve jail time or traditional probation have a recidivism rate of 45%. Of those who completed ‘drug courts’ monitored treatment programs, the rate was 4%.

60% of federal prison inmates are drug offenders, as are 22% of state prisoners.
20% of all felony convictions are for drug trafficking; another 12% are for drug possession.
About 270,000 people are incarcerated on drug charges, up from 48,000 at the start of the ‘Drug War.’ Direct federal spending on the ‘Drug War’ is currently $17 billion per year.

One day, perhaps, citizens will realize the cost associated with our absurd drug policies. 

Listener E-mail from Knute

The suburbanites' "If I don't see it, it isn't a problem" mentality is one of the major issues facing Hartford's potential rebound.  I sort of thought I was throwing you guys a bone so you could expound on the enabling nature our culture's drug policy (which has deep connections to communities of faith) has on cities like Hartford.  That $42M is one of the reasons Hartford kids are dropping out of school and finding themselves right in the cyclical mess of poverty.  This, among other things, is a faith issue.  As long as the churches of Greater Hartford are off the hook when it comes to engaging in this discussion, Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport -- heck, even New Britain, New London, and Torrington -- all the cities are screwed.

Listener E-mail from Bill

I was one of the original organizers of the Ron Paul 2008 campaign.  Dr. Paul (he's an OB/GYN) always advocated legalizing all drugs.  He says anytime the U.S. Government declares a war on anything, it's usually becomes a disaster.
On a separate point, I heard the argument that billions of dollars from the illegal drug trade are pumped into world banks.  As the theory goes, the "legit" world (big banks) benefit greatly from the drug black market.
Thanks for the show.

drug legalization

 Yes, Ron Paul and other libertarians have consistently been against our present drug policy, believing that what a person puts inside his/her body is no one's business, absent no harm to others.  This is a good quote:

·      Who would believe that a democratic government would pursue for eight decades a failed policy that produced tens of millions of victims and trillions dollars of illicit profits for drug dealers; cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars increased crime and destroyed inner cities, fostered wide-spread corruption and violations of human rights—an all with no success in achieving the stated and unattainable objective of a drug-free America.”  (Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman)bdL3C


The feds say that money laundering costs us in this country $0.5-1.0 trillion annually.