It is no stretch to say that the War on Drugs is one of the abiding anchors that cause the United States to founder as we chug towards a better future, responsible in large part for the high rate of incarceration of non-violent and minority citizens, the militarization of civic police forces, and a widening disconnect between a public that sees drug use in terms more subtle than the black-and-white Federal policies would imply. Moreover, it’s turning many Latin states into war zones; Mexico, in particular, is one of the most dangerous countries in the hemisphere, thanks to a roiling turf war between rival gangs and mostly toothless police.
The leaders of our neighboring countries haven’t buried their heads in the sand. Guatemala’s president Otto Pérez Molina has been making a ruckus over the last year, calling for the end of prohibition entirely. And while you’d be forgiven for thinking that’s the sort of thing the American government will just casually ignore while sending another C-130 full of ammunition to paramilitary forces, it looks like President Obama is at least going to listen to the arguments at the from other leaders at The Summit of the Americas next week, before ignoring those arguments for a few months so Republicans can’t use a progressive, modern position on drug reform as a foil for “soft on drugs” rhetoric.
I don’t know anything about Molina, really, but I like the way he turns the argument toward prohibition towards reason by arguing against full legalization (like anybody rational is actually advocating that):
Pérez Molina concedes that moving beyond prohibition is problematic. “To suggest liberalisation – allowing consumption, production and trafficking of drugs without any restriction whatsoever – would be, in my opinion, profoundly irresponsible. Even more, it is an absurd proposition. If we accept regulations for alcoholic drinks and tobacco consumption and production, why should we allow drugs to be consumed and produced without any restrictions?”
(Photo: White House/Flickr)