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As Drug Policies Change, Is There A Conservative Dilemma?

December 17, 2012 by  

As Drug Policies Change, Is There A Conservative Dilemma?
UPI
A pot user in Washington State lights up.

Governments around the world have slowly been recognizing the folly of using prohibition and war on drugs tactics to quell drug related violence, addiction and terroristic drug cartels.

Leaders in the United Kingdom are calling for a reformative look at British drug policy as, despite evidence to the contrary, Prime Minister David Cameron says he believes that his nation’s version of the American war on drugs is “actually working.”

The U.K. Liberal Democrat Party leader Nick Clegg disagrees, saying in a recent interview with The Sun, “We are losing the war on drugs on an industrial scale. If you were waging any other war where you have 2,000 fatalities a year, your enemies are making billions in profits, constantly throwing new weapons at you and targeting more young people – you’d have to say you are losing and it’s time to do something different.”

A report released last week by the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee suggests that U.K. lawmakers should look to South American countries for pointers on drug reform policy.

For decades Latin American countries have suffered because of the U.S.-created War on Drugs. Decades of bloodshed and billions of dollars spent has led a majority of Latin Americans to an emerging consensus that going along with their northern neighbor’s tough drug policies are only helping to embolden cartel criminals.

More practical solutions to the drug problem are being sought by many governments in the region focusing on legalization and regulation rather than outright prohibition, especially with regard to marijuana. In the small republic of Uruguay, government pushed through legislation that makes the state the sole dispenser of marijuana.

Other Latin American countries are following Uruguay’s lead and also calling for drug legalization. Guatemalan leader Otto Perez Molina did so in the U.N. General Assembly, with the support of regional backers such as the cartel-ravaged nations of Mexico and Colombia.

The United States remains the biggest drug market in the Western hemisphere, despite being the birthplace of the war on drugs philosophy. And the Nation’s Federal lawmakers remain opposed to Latin America-style reforms, despite States like California and Washington easing the crackdown on marijuana.

With growing pressure from Latin American governments and State efforts to curb draconian drug policies, the Federal government will have much to prove about the efficacy of its drug war over the next few years. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama’s remarks last Friday indicating that the Federal government “has bigger fish to fry” than going after marijuana users in Colorado and Washington where the drug is now legal serves as a victory to both States’ rights and personal liberty advocates.

Many conservative Americans would likely disagree that marijuana legalization in a handful of States is really a good thing for their movement. But as the GOP increasingly represents a moral-nanny clone of the Democratic Party, the same conservatives that found ridiculous New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s liberty-assaulting ban on big soft drinks will have to decide if the message really is about getting government out of Americans’ lives.  Or does small government only matter when the moral agenda is not in jeopardy?

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • Vicki

    The OP writes:
    ” Or does small government only matter when the moral agenda is not in jeopardy?”

    That should read “when THEIR moral agenda is not in jeopardy”

    Thus the warning to support freedom for all lest you find that it is your ox being gored.

    • Vigilant

      The headline reads, “As Drug Policies Change, Is There A Conservative Dilemma?”

      The left is both socially and fiscally liberal. The Libertarians are socially liberal and fiscally conservative.

      “Traditionalist” Conservatives are both fiscally and socially conservative in views. I fail to see how a dilemma for them arises out of any change in drug policies.

      • eddie47d

        I’ll disagree with you Vigilant because I believe “traditional” Conservatives are very much in favor of the drug war. They have always pushed for draconian laws on drug use,incarceration for petty drug use,law and order and such. Libertarian Conservatives on the other hand are on the side of being socially liberal and financially Conservative. They want the war on drugs either stopped or drastically changed. They want some drugs regulated and legally sold so those drugs are not illegally smuggled in from all over the world. Libertarians want the police state out of peoples personal lives and the old “traditional” Conservative wants the Nixon Law and Order to prevail. Thus the Conservative Dilemma.

      • vicki

        Eddie47d writes:
        “Libertarians want the police state out of peoples personal lives…”

        We want the STATE out of peoples personal lives.

      • eddie47d

        Every country has a State but no country needs a police state!

    • Robert Smith

      “Many conservative Americans would likely disagree that marijuana legalization in a handful of States is really a good thing for their movement.”

      Why isn’t the right defending this as a states’ rights issue?

      On the other hand the Defense of Marriage act stomps on those states that have adopted same sex merrage.

      My head is flipping back and forth faster than a ping pong match trying to keep up with the right.

      Rob

      • vicki

        Robert Smith writes:
        “My head is flipping back and forth faster than a ping pong match trying to keep up with the right.”

        Or left. Which is the whole point of the statests pushing the left vs right paradigm. It is to hide from us the real issue. 100% vs limited vs 0% government.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4r0VUybeXY

      • Robert Smith

        Ah… No compromise from the right again.

        All or none. Seems you are forgetting the rest of America.

        Rob

      • CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

        “Robert Smith,”

        THE “Right” IS IN A QUANDRY BECAUSE OF THIS ELECTION. WHEN Congress [OR, Supreme Court] FINALLY “LAYS DOWN THE LAW,” IN REFERENCE TO SAME-SEX MARRIAGE, IT WILL BE A GREAT CATALYST FOR PLACING THE “Right” ON AN EVEN-KEEL.

    • Bruce

      I think it is high time for government to take a step back and realize there is a reason for separation of church and state. The reason is governments SHOULD NOT be in the business of setting moral standards, or state religions. That is for the church of your choice to decide. Government (and Republicans) has been used to force MORAL LAWS (religious laws) on the people. You can not legislate MORALITY. NO WAY NO HOW, IT DOES NOT WORK, PERIOD!. Like no alcohol sales on Sunday. This is clearly a MORAL LAW one that the government has no business being a party to. The Republicans need to adopt a different attitude. For example. We the Republicans in government think that smoking pot is morally wrong, BUT we also believe that writing MORAL LAWS is unconstitutional and there fore we the Republicans will take this stand: We think smoking pot is morally wrong and that you should not do it, HOWEVER! we think making moral laws is also wrong so we will make NO LAWS about using pot. And we will work to return your ability to make BAD CHOICES to you the individual, like God intended it. Free choice to chose wrong and to take the consequences for your bad decisions. If I run and don’t pay attention to where I put my feet I might fall and skin my knee, THAT IS GOOD!. Can you imagine if I can fell and did not feel the pain of skinning my knee? I would never learn to pick up my feet when I ran. You people need to think deeper…. You can not legislate MORALITY, quit trying!. Government is here to protect our borders, and regulate interstate commerce. Lets shrink the Federal government back to what the constitution gave the Federal Gov. for powers. Stop the creep to total Government control of the citizens every action and decision. We have the God given right to make bad choices. The government has no business getting involved in that.

      • Karolyn

        You are absolutely right, although I don’t think you speak for the whole Republican party.

      • Bruce

        I am sure I do not speak for the Republican party. If they had this attitude “I have morals, but I will not force them on my neighbor”, they would have won a lot more elections, AND FRIENDS. And a lot more people would move towards their morals. Instead of being turned off by their insistence everyone should be just like them. Are they not PERFECT?.

  • http://smoovious.wordpress.com Smoovious Laxness

    > Or does small government only matter when the moral agenda is not in jeopardy?

    Yep, that pretty much sums up how I see the Republicans… and why I don’t support them…

    Although, I would argue that small government doesn’t matter to them, even when their moral agenda isn’t in jeopardy too.

    – Smoov

  • Jamie

    I don’t tell the Rich ,they cant snort their Coke.or anything else. in my best dreams I’m just waiting for them all to parish or vanish could careless how . I hate Control freaks the most.

  • SarahR

    Why should our government try to enforce drug laws? It is our governments biggest money-making business. Gun-running and drug enforcement is a big business. Do you have any idea how many government agencies would cease to exist if not for drug cartels and their business?

    • Robert Smith

      Don’t forget the privately run prisons.

      And we need to count the lives that have been ruined by the punitive right wing and their stand on drug enforcement.

      Rob

      • vicki

        Which explains why the left wing ended the war on (some) drugs when they had total control of Congress and The Presidency. Oh wait……..

        The “right” is not your enemy. The “left” is not their enemy. Those who would use the power delegated to government to control much or most of YOUR life IS the enemy.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4r0VUybeXY

      • Robert Smith

        Actually it was Bob Barr who led the war on drugs.

        Rob

      • http://gravatar.com/bychoosing WTS/JAY

        In Congress, Barr’s strong stance against medical marijuana put him at odds with marijuana policy reformers such as the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). Despite this historic antagonism, in March 2007, Barr reversed his stance on medical marijuana and began lobbying on behalf of MPP. This new partnership saw Barr working to repeal his very own “Barr Amendment”— the amendment that overturned a voter-approved medical marijuana initiative in Washington, D.C. and bars consideration of similar initiatives.

        Barr has been careful to note that he isn’t pro-drug, but rather against government intrusion. In interviews he has expressed the nuanced position of simultaneously opposing legalization, yet advocating the federalist ideals of State legislation and enforcement over Federal control.

        Barr’s reversal on drug policy surprised many, particularly MPP. His new-found appreciation for harm reduction was heartily welcomed:

        It’s very rare to find someone who’s willing to change their position and then be so public about it. [Barr has] definitely increased the credibility of the Marijuana Policy Project. People have to take us seriously when we walk through the door with Bob Barr.

        —Rob Kampia, Executive Director, Marijuana Policy Project
        —May 2008 Source -Wikipedia

  • http://gravatar.com/bychoosing WTS/JAY

    From the article: More practical solutions to the drug problem are being sought by many governments in the region focusing on LEGALIZATION AND REGULATION rather than outright prohibition, especially with regard to marijuana. In the small republic of Uruguay, government pushed through legislation that makes the state the sole dispenser of
    marijuana.

    Well there you go, the whole point behind the “drug-wars”, isn’t it? What is the purpose behind the drug-wars? The same as it was behind prohibition, gambling, racketeering, embezzlement, prostitution…who has the monopoly on all, such vices? You guessed it, the very same who are waging the war on “drugs”!!!

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