Why Eric Holder's drug policy changes won't work

  • Article by: MARK OSLER
  • Updated: August 17, 2013 - 7:45 AM

For real reform, the administration needs to move away from myths.

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supervon2Aug. 16, 13 9:41 PM

Why should failure not the be the standard for Holder? He seems to have mastered it.

Marky23Aug. 16, 1311:03 PM

Demand reduction. Nothing else matters. For all of the negative coverage surrounding mandatory minimums, it was designed to be a demand reduction tool (there is no supply-side solution). I think it was clearly a failure, in part because we are unwilling to make recreational users pay the full moral cost of their behavior... instead offshoring the severe consequences to Colombia, Bolivia, Peru among many. So where does that leave us? With each passing year, Latin American leaders are becoming increasingly vocal about the consequences of the drug war (no longer is it just former leaders doing the preaching, but active heads of government) and increasingly willing to assign blame where it belongs, with us. In his 2009 Ukraine speech, Biden said that this admin's goal was to build a multi-polar world... well, a world with a more equitably distributed power balance is not one in which our drug war, as structured, will be sustainable. Since we're unlikely to legalize; and decriminalization has so many of the unsavory aspects of legalizations, less the defunding of terrorists, I hope we can have a thorough debate about harm reduction and ways to drive demand down, with transparent targets and consequences for not reaching those targets.

dewarfAug. 16, 1311:04 PM

Holder, like Obama, always seems to be on the wrong side of every issue. Why, "if I had a son, he'd look like...", remember? Clearly, these are black politicians paying back the 95-96% vote they get from the black, drug-infested communities of our major cities throughout America. Next, they'll want to re-instate the voting rights of these released convicted felons. Seems right to me. These people certainly have a history of making good choices, don't they? They're how people like Obama get elected.

edinawaterAug. 16, 1311:52 PM

"We should ignore the people and drugs and take the money — using techniques like those we’ve used to freeze funding for terrorist groups — if we really want to solve the problem of illegal narcotics." --

Ironically, the government has argued that terrorists get their funding from illegal drug sales. Terrorists need to launder their money. Money laundering is a natural part of the drug trade. If you really want to shut down illegal businesses the most effective approach would be competition. If you legalize and regulate the business it will be much cheaper to operate a legal and regulated business than a business on the black market.

sfcmarkcAug. 17, 13 8:23 AM

If you legalize and regulate the business it will be much cheaper to operate a legal and regulated business than a business on the black market.------ I don't think that government control of the drug trade would necessarily result in more competition. It would be likely that the government would want to regulate illegal drugs like regular drugs. The illicit drug trade will still be able to supply a cheaper product. Then the question will remain, what will the new penalties for buying or selling the non-government approved drugs?

jazzbaseAug. 17, 13 8:55 AM

These people have a history of making good choices. Very nice dewarf!

owatonnabillAug. 17, 13 9:21 AM

The longest journey begins with the first step. Owatonnabill as no great liking for Eric Holder but in this particular instance his statement IS that first step. We'll never solve the drug problem by penalizing the consumers. We solve it by attacking it where it eats, and THAT is in the supply and distribution networks. And the best way, by far, to attack it is to NOT attack it but to give it free rein. Decriminalize ALL drugs. Not only that, but have the government, in whatever manner they choose to do so, be a drug supplier themselves: make all drugs freely available and dirt cheap. Along with that, offer free or cheap counseling for those who want to kick whatever drug habit they happen to have. Similar programs in The Netherlands and in Portugal, to name two, have had great success in not only removing the criminal element from the drug business but, interestingly enough, rates of addiction have actually gone DOWN in those countries. What we're doing today is, bluntly, a gigantic bleepup that has ruined far more lives than unfettered drug use ever could. When the cure is worse than the disease, it's time to reassess your treatment approach.

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