American Policy makers and enforcers
America's drug policy, a question arises are we doing what's most effective? A few things to consider.
The Mascone Act, which was passed by California Senate in 1975. The Act lowered penalties for possession of cannabis under an ounce to a misdemeanor. Statical indicators of cannabis use showed no increase in cannabis use(1 ).
Alaska had extremely permissive cannabis laws in the 1980's. When cannabis use among Alaska's high school seniors was compared in 1982 it was lower than the rest of the nation (2 ).
In 1989 William Bennett, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy admitted publicly that marijuana was no more dangerous than alcohol, but still saw no reason to support any legal changes(3 ).
Ronald Reagan said when he was Governor of California Marijuana was really not a dangerous drug(4 ).
Former Drug Czar Barry R. McCaffrey said "We have a failed social policy and it has to be re-evaluated," and continued "Otherwise we're going to bankrupt ourselves, because we can't incarcerate our way out of this problem."(5 ).
U.S. District Judge Thomas Wiseman said, "We've just about lost a generation of young people. We're building new prison beds at the rate of about 1,000 a week and we're still overcrowded. We've spent $100 billion on the war on drugs and we're losing it."(6 ).
An issue of the "ABA Journal" published the results of a poll of 350 state judges and 49 federal judges. The results in part are as follows
Texas State District Judge Michael McSpadden wants to change the "draconian" drug laws. He is joined by sixteen other judges from both parties. He said "Sixteen of us feel that it's just unfair to be convicted for a residue amount and be labeled a felon, which changes your whole life," and about lower the penalties "We're not talking about legalizing it; we're talking about making it a misdemeanor." The judge proclaimed "The 'War on Drugs' isn't working, and we as judges realize it," and "And the public realizes it." (8 ).
A survey of police chiefs found that 85 percent want major change in drug policy, and sixty percent said law enforcement did not reduce the problem(9 ).
Our politicians fought a prison system they saw as "country clubs". Do tough prison conditions work? No if anything they lead to a greater recidivism (10 ).