Thursday, October 13, 2011

U.S. should surrender the war on drugs

As I edited tonight's police blotters for the Lockport and Medina papers, it occurred to me that about half of the arrests were misdemeanor marijuana possession arrests.

That's a lot of time, effort and money that the police spend dealing with something petty, that they could use to actually investigate, track and solve what I would consider to be "real crimes."

You may have heard that Topeka, Kansas - under a budget crunch - actually decriminalized domestic violence. For a time being (they've since fixed it), it was legal to physically abuse your spouse or domestic partner because Topeka didn't want to deal with misdemeanors any more.

Now, look, I'm all for there being less laws. And if you want to do away with laws, doing away with misdemeanors is probably the way to go ... but the fact of the matter is that in Topeka, the vast majority of the misdemeanors in the court system were DV arrests.

I say if Topeka, Kansas (and every other American city) wants to do away with laws to save money, get rid of the Rockefeller drug laws. Stop arresting 20-something year olds for having a baggie of weed and a pipe.

The U.S. government spends $500 per second on the war on drugs. Every 19 seconds, someone is arrested on a drug possession charge. And 25 percent of people who do any amount of jail time, do it for violating drug laws.

Let's be clear here: I hate drugs. I've seen them ruin people. I've seen credit cards do the same thing, though. And there's no movement to ban them. Nor should there be.

I don't want drugs sold to children. Especially not my children. But if an adult wants to smoke a joint in their basement while they watch That 70s Show, who am I to stop them? And in order to get that joint to their basement, it's going to have to be on them in a car somewhere, most likely.

If I had $1 for every arrest report that involved a guy in a car with a joint getting arrested, I'd have a whole lot of dollars. And, frankly, there's just no point.

There's real crime to deal with - like assholes that beat their wives.