Radley Balko posts about his talk at the Students for Sensible Drug Policy conference this weekend, and reiterates his objections to the “Dutch Model” of drug policy: treating drug use as a medical problem, rather than as a matter of individual liberty.
One part of Coolman’s post on which they would both agree:
If the government is going to be getting in anybody's business, it's a hell of a lot better for that intervention to be in the form of doctors and nurses, counselors and other more or less benign types than for it to be in the form of cops, corrections officers, SWAT teams and so forth. If I could pick my poison, it would be the guy in the white coat, not the guy in the flack jacket.
This type of debate amongst serious reformers is a necessary part of any eventual drug policy reform in our country. But I fear sometimes that the debate about exactly what system we move towards (other than long term incarceration) overshadows the desperate need we have to change now.
Here in Austin, where the defendants I represent face serious jail and prison time for marijuana and other drug charges, anything but our current “lock em up” policy would be a welcome change. If we have to “accept” incremental change in the form of “reduced criminalization” in order to move towards an eventual perfect policy (whatever that might be), let’s do it.