On Decriminalizing Drugs

From the Examiner

Baltimore City Councilman Jack Young is taking his war against the “war on drugs” one step farther.

On Monday, Young said he will introduce a resolution seeking a hearing — with testimony from the Baltimore Police Department and the city Health Department — to open a dialogue on what he said is a failed strategy against illegal drugs.

“Like I’ve said before — what we’ve done is not working,” he said.

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“We need to have a dialogue about taking the profit motive out of drug dealing and ending the so-called war on drugs.”

Though this is a quixotic effort, considering that Baltimore doesn’t have the authority to decriminalize drugs in any meaningful way, I think Mr. Young’s view is correct.

I’m a long time skeptic of the war on drugs and my skepticism grows stronger daily. I don’t subscribe to the arguments proffered by Mr. Young’s partner in this venture, Jack Cole of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which strikes me as little more than race pimping to gain attention. But the overall concept has my support.

Right now our drug policy is little more than a self-licking ice cream cone that, oddly enough, works to the advantage of law enforcement, street drug dealers, and drug cartels. Sure, decriminalizion or legalization will bring a tremendous social cost through increased addiction and other ills. But it will stop the bodies from being stacked like cordwood. It will stop the flow of cash to narco-states. It might even make some of Baltimore’s neighborhoods liveable again.

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