By Joe Campbell
April 20th, 2009
I’d heard this quote often, but never saw the video:
It’s interesting how the younger and less constrained Obama is able to flatly state the fact that the War on Drugs has been an utter failure and that marijuana should be decriminalized while still maintaining his opposition to legalization.
I’m all for gradual steps and half-measures that push our society in a positive direction – rather than abrupt shifts that prompt backlashes. And I think Obama has the politics of this right, if not the policy – decriminalization must come first and separate from legalization. But once pot is decriminalized, the logic of it’s legalization becomes inevitable. The problem is that decriminalization could just as easily aid the Mexican drug cartels in the short term – as they take advantage of the gray area in which marijuana would exist legally. Of all 7 positive effects that would be possible if marijuana were legalized, only 3 of them would be partially accomplished by decriminalization.
The prudent political path then is to make the case for legalization while pushing for decriminalization – with the knowledge that the latter will lead to the former.