Jimmy Carter: End the Global War on Drugs

DEA AgentsI doubt any other former (or current) president(s) will make this statement. Jimmy Carter writes in the New York Times:

In an extraordinary new initiative announced earlier this month, the Global Commission on Drug Policy has made some courageous and profoundly important recommendations in a report on how to bring more effective control over the illicit drug trade. The commission includes the former presidents or prime ministers of five countries, a former secretary general of the United Nations, human rights leaders, and business and government leaders, including Richard Branson, George P. Shultz and Paul A. Volcker.

The report describes the total failure of the present global antidrug effort, and in particular America’s “war on drugs,” which was declared 40 years ago today. It notes that the global consumption of opiates has increased 34.5 percent, cocaine 27 percent and cannabis 8.5 percent from 1998 to 2008. Its primary recommendations are to substitute treatment for imprisonment for people who use drugs but do no harm to others, and to concentrate more coordinated international effort on combating violent criminal organizations rather than nonviolent, low-level offenders.

These recommendations are compatible with United States drug policy from three decades ago. In a message to Congress in 1977, I said the country should decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, with a full program of treatment for addicts. I also cautioned against filling our prisons with young people who were no threat to society, and summarized by saying: “Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.”

Read More from Jimmy Carter in the New York Times

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  • Mary Mcg.

    Good call, Jimbo.  If only we could get rid of douchebags like this guy —> http://marymicrogram.blogspot.com/2011/06/senator-shumer-denounces-drug-dealing.html

  • Mary Mcg.

    Good call, Jimbo.  If only we could get rid of douchebags like this guy —> http://marymicrogram.blogspot.com/2011/06/senator-shumer-denounces-drug-dealing.html

  • Anonymous

    We should all know by now that for all the “free country” rhetoric, we don’t live in a free country. Jimmy Carter, for all his good intentions, still falls way short of advocating freedom. I, personally can only give him a half-hearted applause for his efforts. Frankly, there never should have been any drug laws in the first place, especially regarding marijuana. 

    We all know the threat to our health and welfare regarding prescription drugs, alcohol and tobacco dwarfs any threat that weed has ever presented. I personally have friends and family members who are dead because of alcohol. I know of no one who ever died because of marijuana.  

    Lets see, 2 alcoholic friends shot themselves. My sister and brother in law died in a house fire because they were too drunk to wake up. An old friend -literally decapitated on a drunken motorcycle ride. An ex-girl friend who’s father killed himself and another person by driving down the exit ramp and into incoming traffic on the freeway. My father was an alcoholic who is now dead too early in life. An uncle, now mentally handicapped as a result of a drunken car accident. I could go on… but as you know, alcohol is perfectly legal and is statistically among the most dangerous drugs known to man.  

    Despite all the carnage I still wouldn’t advocate alcohol prohibition because these people made their own choices and paid the price. A price that lack of moderation will exact. The point is that personal choice will exact its own
    punishment or reward. The law simply complicates the process and is more destructive overall that any recreational drug ever could be. 

    What is freedom? Is it something you can grant to others? NO! It will never be. Laws be damned. You were born free. Your mind is your own and no one else’s. Your life is your own. It doesn’t matter how the fickle face of government stares you down with judgment. We speak of freedom as if it’s some distant dream. Break your trance. End your pursuit. You are already free. 
     
    Life demands a kind of perpetual anarchy. It’s called Free Will. It is the order of things. We learn more from the experience of falling out of a tree, than we learn from accepting the warning that we should never try to climb it. 
    Often meaning only comes in hindsight, it’s why experience is so valuable.

         

  • GoodDoktorBad

    We should all know by now that for all the “free country” rhetoric, we don’t live in a free country. Jimmy Carter, for all his good intentions, still falls way short of advocating freedom. I, personally can only give him a half-hearted applause for his efforts. Frankly, there never should have been any drug laws in the first place, especially regarding marijuana. 

    We all know the threat to our health and welfare regarding prescription drugs, alcohol and tobacco dwarfs any threat that weed has ever presented. I personally have friends and family members who are dead because of alcohol. I know of no one who ever died because of marijuana.  

    Lets see, 2 alcoholic friends shot themselves. My sister and brother in law died in a house fire because they were too drunk to wake up. An old friend -literally decapitated on a drunken motorcycle ride. An ex-girl friend who’s father killed himself and another person by driving down the exit ramp and into incoming traffic on the freeway. My father was an alcoholic who is now dead too early in life. An uncle, now mentally handicapped as a result of a drunken car accident. I could go on… but as you know, alcohol is perfectly legal and is statistically among the most dangerous drugs known to man.  

    Despite all the carnage I still wouldn’t advocate alcohol prohibition because these people made their own choices and paid the price. A price that lack of moderation will exact. The point is that personal choice will exact its own
    punishment or reward. The law simply complicates the process and is more destructive overall that any recreational drug ever could be. 

    What is freedom? Is it something you can grant to others? NO! It will never be. Laws be damned. You were born free. Your mind is your own and no one else’s. Your life is your own. It doesn’t matter how the fickle face of government stares you down with judgment. We speak of freedom as if it’s some distant dream. Break your trance. End your pursuit. You are already free. 
     
    Life demands a kind of perpetual anarchy. It’s called Free Will. It is the order of things. We learn more from the experience of falling out of a tree, than we learn from accepting the warning that we should never try to climb it. 
    Often meaning only comes in hindsight, it’s why experience is so valuable.

         

    • Guest

      Agree with everything you said, although I did want to point out how you spoke of all the horrible things alcohol did to these people, then somewhat retracted it all by saying they paid the price of their choices and “A price that lack of moderation will exact.”  I may be wrong, but I interpreted that as:  “If only they could have controlled their alcohol intake this wouldn’t have happened.”  I agree they made the choice to drink, however, I am of the belief that alcoholism is a disease, just like any substance addiction, and in these certain people, once alcohol enters their body, they are mentally and physically incapable of stopping or controlling it.  One might say, “Well, yes, but they could learn from that and not do it again.”  Right, but that is the opposite of what happens; this is a form of insanity that never gets discussed in real life and is not common knowledge to most people, even when alcohol has affected one’s own life through other people.    

      Those whose lives are affected by other people’s alcohol use, often times end up just as twisted as the alcohol user themselves.  So, in the article, it says “Its primary recommendations are to substitute treatment for imprisonment for people who use drugs but do no harm to others.”  I am assuming they are meaning the word “harm” to mean actual physical harm and not the kind of “harm” you described above, such as emotional and mental harm endured as a result.  I realize they are speaking strictly about illegal substances, but what about getting treatment instead of imprisonment for an alcoholic who kills somebody while in a blackout, since it’s pretty common for a drunk individual to get violent as a result, compared to that of a heroin user.  What can we do to ensure these people aren’t sitting in prison for the rest of their lives for something they more than likely do not remember, but anybody with a conscience, as most of us humans come equipped with, would torture themselves for the rest of their lives with their own guilt?  Can we ensure this man is still worthy of treatment if he desires to have it?  Playing devil’s advocate a little, I know, but could this man reasonably plead insane?  No, not now because of course he made the choice to put the alcohol into his body, but couldn’t one also reasonably argue that it was out of insanity itself that he drank to begin with?  How is this man any different than Charles Manson?  Couldn’t both be seen as just as irresponsible and detached from reality?

      Sorry, to dump all this on you, dude.  I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said, but the alcohol thing intrigues me every time.  I guess one thing is for sure, if you are meant to learn the lesson, you will on your own.  Nobody can force this type of knowledge down anybody’s throat and reasonably expect it to stick.  It just won’t.  But maybe if there were a few cushions and very, very low safety nets, some people may be able to be caught before they eventually fall.  

    • Mike Miseph

      Let’s not get overzealous with our declarations of how safe and good weed is and how dangerous and evil alcohol is.

      People who die of liver cancer or alcohol poisoning (aka overdose) died from alcohol consumption. Suicides though? I’d suggest that whatever hurt caused them to take their own lives is possibly the same hurt that caused them to drink. Beyond that, there are more than enough suicide victims who smoked pot to make any claim that the two activities are negatively correlated, or even less correlated than alcohol use.

      In terms of traffic accidents and the like, I know that marijuana advocates like to claim it doesn’t impair driving ability. Bullshit. I’ve driven while high, and I’ve watched others drive while high: marijuana absolutely impairs driving. For fuck’s sake, it alters perception and frame of mind… how the hell could it *not* affect one’s driving? While I can’t say for sure that I know of anyone who was ever killed or seriously injured in a marijuana-related accident, I know a lot of people who have gotten into various accidents and were lucky enough to walk away.

      Point being, you aren’t actually helping any pro-legalization arguments
      by blatantly exaggerating the ill effects of alcohol and blithely
      dismissing any suggestion that maybe, just maybe, marijuana has some drawbacks too. Personally, I find marijuana highs to be rather unpleasant, I often become (more) paranoid and (more) psychologically abusive toward myself and others. If you want to do it, I support your right to do so, and strongly advocate for full legalization, but I will continue to refrain, and I will continue to advocate for a prohibition on driving while high or intoxicated on pretty much anything.

      • irish potato gun

        When marijuana is involved it is in conjunction with alcohol.  Just using it alone and driving is not that bad, because usually if your too stoned to drive you cant even get to the car, unless your driving and smoking.

  • Guest

    Agree with everything you said, although I did want to point out how you spoke of all the horrible things alcohol did to these people, then somewhat retracted it all by saying they paid the price of their choices and “A price that lack of moderation will exact.”  I may be wrong, but I interpreted that as:  “If only they could have controlled their alcohol intake this wouldn’t have happened.”  I agree they made the choice to drink, however, I am of the belief that alcoholism is a disease, just like any substance addiction, and in these certain people, once alcohol enters their body, they are mentally and physically incapable of stopping or controlling it.  One might say, “Well, yes, but they could learn from that and not do it again.”  Right, but that is the opposite of what happens; this is a form of insanity that never gets discussed in real life and is not common knowledge to most people, even when alcohol has affected one’s own life through other people.    

    Those whose lives are affected by other people’s alcohol use, often times end up just as twisted as the alcohol user themselves.  So, in the article, it says “Its primary recommendations are to substitute treatment for imprisonment for people who use drugs but do no harm to others.”  I am assuming they are meaning the word “harm” to mean actual physical harm and not the kind of “harm” you described above, such as emotional and mental harm endured as a result.  I realize they are speaking strictly about illegal substances, but what about getting treatment instead of imprisonment for an alcoholic who kills somebody while in a blackout, since it’s pretty common for a drunk individual to get violent as a result, compared to that of a heroin user.  What can we do to ensure these people aren’t sitting in prison for the rest of their lives for something they more than likely do not remember, but anybody with a conscience, as most of us humans come equipped with, would torture themselves for the rest of their lives with their own guilt?  Can we ensure this man is still worthy of treatment if he desires to have it?  Playing devil’s advocate a little, I know, but could this man reasonably plead insane?  No, not now because of course he made the choice to put the alcohol into his body, but couldn’t one also reasonably argue that it was out of insanity itself that he drank to begin with?  How is this man any different than Charles Manson?  Couldn’t both be seen as just as irresponsible and detached from reality?

    Sorry, to dump all this on you, dude.  I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said, but the alcohol thing intrigues me every time.  I guess one thing is for sure, if you are meant to learn the lesson, you will on your own.  Nobody can force this type of knowledge down anybody’s throat and reasonably expect it to stick.  It just won’t.  But maybe if there were a few cushions and very, very low safety nets, some people may be able to be caught before they eventually fall.  

  • Guest

    Agree with everything you said, although I did want to point out how you spoke of all the horrible things alcohol did to these people, then somewhat retracted it all by saying they paid the price of their choices and “A price that lack of moderation will exact.”  I may be wrong, but I interpreted that as:  “If only they could have controlled their alcohol intake this wouldn’t have happened.”  I agree they made the choice to drink, however, I am of the belief that alcoholism is a disease, just like any substance addiction, and in these certain people, once alcohol enters their body, they are mentally and physically incapable of stopping or controlling it.  One might say, “Well, yes, but they could learn from that and not do it again.”  Right, but that is the opposite of what happens; this is a form of insanity that never gets discussed in real life and is not common knowledge to most people, even when alcohol has affected one’s own life through other people.    

    Those whose lives are affected by other people’s alcohol use, often times end up just as twisted as the alcohol user themselves.  So, in the article, it says “Its primary recommendations are to substitute treatment for imprisonment for people who use drugs but do no harm to others.”  I am assuming they are meaning the word “harm” to mean actual physical harm and not the kind of “harm” you described above, such as emotional and mental harm endured as a result.  I realize they are speaking strictly about illegal substances, but what about getting treatment instead of imprisonment for an alcoholic who kills somebody while in a blackout, since it’s pretty common for a drunk individual to get violent as a result, compared to that of a heroin user.  What can we do to ensure these people aren’t sitting in prison for the rest of their lives for something they more than likely do not remember, but anybody with a conscience, as most of us humans come equipped with, would torture themselves for the rest of their lives with their own guilt?  Can we ensure this man is still worthy of treatment if he desires to have it?  Playing devil’s advocate a little, I know, but could this man reasonably plead insane?  No, not now because of course he made the choice to put the alcohol into his body, but couldn’t one also reasonably argue that it was out of insanity itself that he drank to begin with?  How is this man any different than Charles Manson?  Couldn’t both be seen as just as irresponsible and detached from reality?

    Sorry, to dump all this on you, dude.  I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said, but the alcohol thing intrigues me every time.  I guess one thing is for sure, if you are meant to learn the lesson, you will on your own.  Nobody can force this type of knowledge down anybody’s throat and reasonably expect it to stick.  It just won’t.  But maybe if there were a few cushions and very, very low safety nets, some people may be able to be caught before they eventually fall.  

  • Mike Miseph

    Let’s not get overzealous with our declarations of how safe and good weed is and how dangerous and evil alcohol is.

    People who die of liver cancer or alcohol poisoning (aka overdose) died from alcohol consumption. Suicides though? I’d suggest that whatever hurt caused them to take their own lives is possibly the same hurt that caused them to drink. Beyond that, there are more than enough suicide victims who smoked pot to make any claim that the two activities are negatively correlated, or even less correlated than alcohol use.

    In terms of traffic accidents and the like, I know that marijuana advocates like to claim it doesn’t impair driving ability. Bullshit. I’ve driven while high, and I’ve watched others drive while high: marijuana absolutely impairs driving. For fuck’s sake, it alters perception and frame of mind… how the hell could it *not* affect one’s driving? While I can’t say for sure that I know of anyone who was ever killed or seriously injured in a marijuana-related accident, I know a lot of people who have gotten into various accidents and were lucky enough to walk away.

    Point being, you aren’t actually helping any pro-legalization arguments
    by blatantly exaggerating the ill effects of alcohol and blithely
    dismissing any suggestion that maybe, just maybe, marijuana has some drawbacks too. Personally, I find marijuana highs to be rather unpleasant, I often become (more) paranoid and (more) psychologically abusive toward myself and others. If you want to do it, I support your right to do so, and strongly advocate for full legalization, but I will continue to refrain, and I will continue to advocate for a prohibition on driving while high or intoxicated on pretty much anything.

  • Gavin Putland

    The reversal of the presumption of innocence in drug-possession cases is incompatible with the rule of law and is therefore unconstitutional in ALL jurisdictions.

    More: http://is.gd/ccxry6 .

  • irish potato gun

    When marijuana is involved it is in conjunction with alcohol.  Just using it alone and driving is not that bad, because usually if your too stoned to drive you cant even get to the car, unless your driving and smoking.

  • Sid

    To quote NOFX:
    “Drugs are good, they let you do things that you know you not should.And when you do ‘em people think that you’re cool.”

    I rest my case.

  • Sid

    To quote NOFX:
    “Drugs are good, they let you do things that you know you not should.And when you do ‘em people think that you’re cool.”

    I rest my case.

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