Thursday, 13 September 2012
Drug Decriminalization: A Federal Judge Speaks
Respected federal judge Richard A. Posner, who's considered a legal conservative as called for the elimination of criminal laws against drugs in a lecture at Illinois' Elmhurst college. The Judge was, of course free to speak out did so by cogently setting out the argument for decriminalization, but I seriously doubt that any politician seeking election by the public would follow suit.It's a bit like religion - at election time everyone's a Christian.
Here's an extract:
"I don't think we should have a fraction of the drug laws that we have. I think it's really absurd to be criminalizing possession or use or distribution of marijuana," he said. "I can't see any difference between that and cigarettes." The audience gave him a round of applause.
..."But also I'm skeptical about the other drug laws," Judge Posner added. "The notion of using the criminal law as the primary means of dealing with a problem of addiction, of misuse, of ingesting dangerous drugs -- I don't think that's sensible at all."
He said drug laws are "responsible for a high percentage of our prisoners. And these punishments are often very, very severe. It's all very expensive." Judge Posner has pointed out that legalizing marijuana and other drugs would save federal, state and local governments $41.3 billion per year.
He said drug laws are, "...a waste of a lot of high quality legal minds, and it's also a waste of people's lives who could be as least moderately productive with having to spend year after year in prison. That is a serious problem."
The full video is here.