Sunday, August 28, 2005


Friend and fellow blogger JAGE put up a very sad post. His cousin, and best friend from childhood, committed suicide after a long history of problems centered around chronic addiction to drugs, mostly meth. How awful and sad.

I thought one thing JAGE said was particularly interesting:

Of course, the administration in charge of the federal funding flow for state and local police departments have, in their infinite wisdom, recently cut over 50% of the amounts granted to programs specifically battling Methamphetamines. Instead, they roar and beat their chest, ‘Get the pot smokers first!’…as always. And don’t for a second think that their stance comes from any moral high-ground. I’ve been there and I’ve seen why the Marijuana drums beat so loudly. Sadly, it’s a centuries old reason…pure greed. If you don’t believe me, go spend a full day in a municipal court for a moderate to large city and see how much money gets raked in from possession and paraphernalia fines related to Marijuana. I use to sit in amazement, waiting to testify for one case or another, as the increasing total would hit $10,000 then $15,000 and at times higher yet. And that was just one municipal courtroom in one medium-sized town. On a nationwide scale, there are millions of dollars being poured into the system each and every day from these sorts of fines. During my law enforcement days, I vividly recall planning sessions where the raid of a Meth manufacturer would be shelved and a simple Marijuana user targeted simply for the reason that the pot-smoker had more assets to be seized. Needless to say, I didn’t last long in an industry with that brand of mentality.
I wanted to add or embelish that the law enforcement industry....yes industry....has an enormous economic stake in continuing a vigorous "war on drugs". Increased funding over the last couple decades has meant increased manpower. All those employees have a voice and political clout, and a vested interest to keep their jobs. And the civil servants involved have a vested interest in keeping their fiefdoms intact.

Mind you, I'm not for the legalization of all drugs. However, I do feel that liberalization (and some kind of rationalization) of drug laws would be better for society as a whole. I also favor greatly increased funding for treatment programs. But, unfortunately, the momentum of the political forces against it are quite strong and unlikely to yield anytime soon.

Update: Found this very interesting little site on the costs of the "war on drugs"


At 6:30 PM, Blogger Mark Klein, M.D. said...

I'm also at times a grumpy old guy.


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