After commenting on a post I wrote about drug policy reform, Pat from LeftIndependent wrote me an email (excerpt republished with permission):

It is gratifying for me to know that someone, besides me, considers the economics of the prohibition issue. The economics issue and the terrorist funding issue are the two arguments that I have the most success with when discussing policy with non-proponents. And they are the two issues I usually have the hardest time getting drug policy reformers to appreciate. 

A third issue, the genetics of addiction, turns prohibs around real quick when they see that some addiction is a matter of the human condition rather than being a matter of a bad choice by an addict. But reformers hate me for that argument.

Personally, I think lawyers should take the genetics of addiction issue into court on every simple addiction related court case. There is a wealth of science available that needs only a humane alternative interpretation to that offered by NIDA and the other government entities.

There are so many sound arguments for ending marijuana and controlled substance prohibition that it’s important for folks who are trying to persuade others to join the “decriminalize bandwagon” to familiarize themselves with all of them. I too have found that the economic issues are often the most successful. (Mostly: “Do you know how much it costs to lock someone up for a year for possession of one gram of cocaine? OK, multiply that by 25 to Life. Now multiply that by every person arrested. In Austin. Then Texas. Then the U.S. Still want a tax cut do you?)

Anyone that even partly agrees with you that the main problems with current policy are the moral and ethical issues involved with imprisoning casual users and/or addicts is probably on board with at least some form of drug policy reform already.

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  • Rocco

    Got any links to where that intel on lockup costs is laid out for the legal lay people of this city?