Open Letter to Jerry Brown: Release the Prisoners Held for Using Drugs and Realize Alcohol Is The Most Dangerous Drug of All
The prisons are crowded because people are incarcerated for victimless crimes. Using an illegal drug is not a reason to put a person in jail Nor is selling an illegal drug a reason to put a person in jail.
When a person uses alcohol and drives a car he endangers all of society. DUI’s are the most dangerous drug addicted people in our society. Yet, their criminal activities are treated as though they are normal mistakes like spilling milk. Witness the ludicrous Aldon Smith situation with San Francisco’s football team.
Governor Brown, it is time you reclaimed your liberal hat and put down the “law’ ‘n order” persona that might win elections but does nothing for the betterment of mankind. Think of the enormous amount of money that could be saved by treating drugs and drug use in a responsible way. Clearly people have been using recreational drugs for a long time and they are not going to stop no matter how many laws are passed nor how many users and dealers are locked away.
Pennsylvania sold alcohol in state stores when I was a kid. This is a fine idea for several reasons and, not just for alcohol, but for all drugs. First, if the retail profits accrued to the people of the state, the glorification of drugs by the media would rapidly diminish. One reason of many that the NFL gladly glossed over Smith’s DUI is because of the large amount of alcohol advertising that seems to follow spectator sports. If there were no advertisements for beer maybe the response to Smith would have been more mature. He would have been banned from the league, fined and sent to rehabilitation.
Further if drugs are sold in state stores, then the only way to get wine, beer or hard alcohol late at night would be by going into a bar and drinking there. In a bar the proprietor would be able to determine whether or not the customer had already drunk too much. The police in turn would know where to check for drunk drivers.
Tobacco, cannabis and other drugs like cocaine and heroin could also be sold in state stores. Less widely used drugs might offered in fewer stores. Those that are inherently dangerous could be coupled with counseling.
But ending the illusion that the so called hard drugs are dangerous and alcohol is not would be reason enough in and of itself to take alcohol off the shelves of supermarkets and put in a controlled store where it belongs.
Safe, clean and pure drugs that were available until 6PM would limit the binge using at parties where kids make beer runs at 1AM and then drive home. It would save lives and make money for the state. Rehab programs that were free would easily be paid for by small taxes on the drugs. Eventually most drug addicted people see the need to stop. Why not finance their wellness with the taxes on drugs and alcohol instead of using money for prisons?
Imagine a world where you had to be 21 to go into a state store to buy alcohol. This alone would cut down on teen age drinking. Programs for people who inject drugs would cut down on serious blood born diseases. The availability of safe drugs in a safe environment would reduce the stigma of drug use and allow otherwise healthy individuals a chance to see that their drug use is no different, no worse than people who use alcohol or tobacco. The immediate enhancement in the self-esteem of the drug users might help them to enter rehab that much sooner.
The fiction that marijuana is a dangerous drug has been a source of wealth for the alcohol industry for years. In fact drunk driving goes down in states where medical marijuana is legal because many people use alcohol as a substitute for marijuana. Clearly the big loser in the movement towards legalization of other recreational drugs is the alcohol industry. The police for years have spent endless hours arresting people for drugs, planting drugs on those they want to arrest and in general feeding a prison system that is out of control. The sentencing of lower class crack cocaine users to lengthly jail sentences while ignoring the users of more expensive powdered cocaine proves that at least part of the war on drugs is class warfare.
As a concerned resident of California I suggest you pardon the thousands in jail for marijuana related crimes and other drug users and sellers. In addition I suggest you use the model from Pennsylvania to distribute recreational drugs in state stores. This will be both profitable and by not glamorizing drug use result in a reduced use of drugs.
In addition I suggest the “three strikes law” be examined carefully. To me it clearly violates the constitution of the United States as it is both cruel and unusual to sentence a person to life in prison for crimes that merit far lessor sentences if any at all.
If you do these things the California prison population will be substantially reduced and the quality of life improved for all but the prison unions, corrupt police and private prison industry. And I may reluctantly add, the politicians who feast on donations by the same.
At one time alcohol was banned in the United States. It was banned because it is a dangerous drug. It was made legal again because there is a huge demand for recreational drugs. Commonly promoted is the idea that the Prohibition Era was a great failure. But health both social and individual improved during that time. There were less divorces, less illness related to alcohol and less suicides.
There is huge difference between making recreational drugs and illegal and treating them as though they are harmless. A moderate road is the best one. In a free society recreational drugs should be sold by the state and taxed so that needed rehab is free and paid for by those who use the drugs. The free market approach to selling drugs at the cheapest prices and then forcing all society to pay the costs for rehab, sickness and accidents is plain stupid and intellectually indefensible. There is a huge gulf between the libertarian view of free access to any drug at “market” cost and the view that all drug use is a crime. The state should carefully regulate, sell and insure the quality of various recreational drugs. Time to use both sense and common sense and declare the war on drugs over. And finally it is time to acknowledge that alcohol is the most dangerous of all recreational drugs. Just because it is legal it does not change facts. No other drug causes fatalities through suicide, homicide and car “accidents” as much as alcohol. This is a danger to society in addition to being a danger to the health of the user that is well known.
So Governor Brown please govern like a liberal. Release the people who are in jail for victimless crimes, save the tax payers millions and do the right thing for the citizens of your state. If you want to be the “law’ ‘n order” governor then pass a law that requires DUIs to wear bracelets like sexual criminals. This would enable police to track their movements, see their cars weaving out of control and get them off the roads before they kill more innocent people.