Monday, January 16, 2012

US Drug Policy Is Killing People Every Half Hour In Mexico

 This past week, Mexico's President Philipe Calderon, begrudgingly released details on it's national death toll caused by the United State's war on drugs.
Mexico releases drug war death toll estimate: One killing every half hour

Inexplicably, this has not even been a footnote on the televised news programs. Why is that? Why must so many lives be ignored as this ghoulish statistic grows every day? Why are the governments not avidly discussing different proposals on their policies to turn this around?

I don't think that many people who are smoking cannabis imported from Mexico realize that they are contributing to the deaths of so many people. I kind of equate it to the meat industry. If people actually saw what the process entailed, or had to take some part of the slaughter process, their would probably be less people eating meat. We have plausible deny ability once it is grilled and presented nicely on our plates. The same goes for Mexican cannabis. We only see it in a plastic bag, all fluffed up and smelling good.

We have no empathy for the cows and chickens no more than we have for the people who die in the war on drugs. So, we blindly consume to satiate our voracious appetites.

A serious debate needs to happen on our countries drug policies. How many more people need to die or go to prison over the cannabis plant? Unfortunately most people who go to prison in the United States for cannabis possession are non violent offenders, compared to what is happening in Mexico.

The United States policy of focusing on it's domestic growers, and simple consumers may be good for law enforcement financially, but it does not have any far reaching affect on the people who kill to import cannabis into the United States.

How much safer is our country for arresting Willy Nelson and Snoop Dog? All that managed to do is bring more awareness to the simple fact that our nation's drug policies are not working, and that people are wanting a change in direction. Willie Nelson's Tea Pot Party is a good example of this. Because of his arrest a national movement was created focusing on only electing political candidates who were more inclined to be cannabis friendly.

Our current policies on the war on drugs are not harm reduction policies. They are doing more harm, and we need to take a serious look at how our country should be leading the way in actually creating a real harm reduction policy.

Things like this need to be put on our national agenda and discussed:
  • Ending Federal subsidies to law enforcement for primarily focusing on cannabis convictions, instead of focusing on more violent crimes affecting our neighborhoods.
  • Making drug addiction a health care issue instead of a criminal issue.
  • Rescheduling cannabis so legitimate research can be conducted on it's medicinal properties, and ending conflicts between the Federal Government and states rights.
  • Taking away 70% of drug cartels income by ending demand for illegally imported cannabis.
  • Looking at the big financial picture and discussing all the jobs that could potentially be created by allowing farmers to grow hemp for ethanol, hempcrete, hemp resins, nutritional supplements, clothing, etc.
A serious discussion is needed now. How many more people have to die needlessly to support a failed policy?

A good step in the right direction is by convincing our politicians to endorse the call of the Global Commission on Drug Policy to recognize the failure of current policy and to embark on a study of evidence based alternatives.

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