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Marijuana & Other Drugs

Transparent Statement:
The war on drugs is stupid. Drugs are bad, but should be decriminalized.

I have never taken any illegal drugs. In fact, I have never even smoked. To be honest, I barely drink beer or even wine. (Yes, I am boring.)

But if people choose to make the decision to take an illegal drug, I feel that is their choice, ableit a stupid one, as long as it does not affect the rights others.

So yes, I support the legalization of marijuana even though I have never used marijuana and never plan to. But I also support the decriminalization of all illegal drugs.

Around 1992, when I was in high school in Baltimore, the then-mayor of Baltimore, Kurt Schmoke, became one of the first public officials to publicly announce his support for decriminalizing drugs. (For the record, I did not live in the "City" of Baltimore, so he was not actually my mayor.) Baltimore has always suffered from a large amount of violent crime, much of it related to the drug trade. Like many cities, it still does.

Illegal drugs cause a huge number of problems:

  • Funds gangs and other violence.
  • Puts innocent people at risk of getting killed in gange crossfire.
  • Requires significant police resources.
  • Imprisons many people for possession, permanently affecting their future (and tax revenue).
  • Leads to many crimes so that people can afford drugs.
  • Requires taxpayers to pay to imprison huge numbers of petty criminals.
  • Disproportionaly impacts communities of color, who are more likely to be convicted while white defendants go free.
  • Supports drug cartels, violence and corruption in Mexico and Central & South America.
  • Makes it impossible to treat drug addiction as a health problem.

Yes, drugs are bad. Drugs are stupid. Drugs can kill you. But clearly that message and approach is not working. It is naive to insist we will eventually win the War on Drugs, which is a war against ourselves that causes a true war in other countries. If we decriminalize drugs, we can begin to address all of the negative aspects of drugs.

Cigarettes, alcohol, gambling and marijuana all have their associated problems. Simply making them illegal does not actually solve the problem. Washington legalized marijuana and the world has not ended. It is time to change our approach.

Steve Rubenstein for Governor | Privacy Policy