End racist prohibition.

As The Des Moines Register reported on 10/13/2016, “Black Iowans are seven times more likely to be arrested for drug possession than white Iowans…”  (See link below.)  Drug possession.  A crime without a victim.  Arrests that create a criminal record that seriously negatively affects a person’s ability to get a job.
Even if blacks do possess illegal drugs at a rate seven times more than whites, which I very much doubt, treating possession of any drug as a crime is clearly unfair, if not racist.   Why don’t people get arrested for “possession” if they are caught with a six pack of beer?  Why aren’t people be arrested and charged with “intent to deliver” if they are caught with more than a case of beer?  Why aren’t people charged with a more serious crime if they are caught with high alcohol content distilled spirits, which are surely more dangerous?
We need to end the immoral and impractical drug wars.  The correct and reasonable thing to do is to legalize and regulate the manufacture, sale and use of all drugs, just like alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drugs.  Just like with alcohol, fair regulations would include protecting our children, and prohibiting driving vehicles while intoxicated.  In any case, we need to end prohibition.
Link to Register article: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/crime-and-courts/2016/10/12/iowa-ranks-2nd-worst-racial-disparities-drug-arrests/91958452/
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4 thoughts on “End racist prohibition.

  1. Kurt, you might be correct that mere “possession” of drugs is “a crime without a victim.” But if we were to legalize and regulate all drugs, we should then immediately implement the following penalties for those who drive under the influence of any of those drugs: 1. If you’re caught driving under the influence, you lose your driving privileges for life. 2. If you kill someone as a result of driving under the influence, you go to prison for life.

    • John, of course we must define what constitutes driving under the influence, and apply it fairly between alcohol and other drugs. The penalties should also be fair compared to texting/distracted driving. In the case of both alcohol and drugs, I think zero tolerance is not fair or reasonable. For example, in Iowa today, 0.08% blood alcohol is the threshold for DUI. But, as I wrote in the blog, some reasonable regulation is definitely appropriate. Finally, on a related note, just think of the lives that likely will be saved if we ultimately go to driverless vehicles. As always, thanks for your comment.

      • I’m curious, Kurt — what do you think might be a “fair” penalty for someone who knows (s)he’s impaired, gets behind the wheel anyway, and ends up killing an innocent person? Personally, I believe that unless the penalty for such an act is intolerable, it won’t actually save lives.

  2. John, I don’t think there is a clear line to be drawn. There are clear examples – a person who is clearly drunk and speeds the wrong way on a one way street should have a heavy penalty. A person who has had one beer and appears to be clearly not intoxicated, and kills a child who runs out into the street from between parked cars might have no penalty added because of intoxication. I think the specific facts and circumstances must be considered. Was it day or night? Was is snowing or raining? Was the person speeding? Did the victim contribute to the accident? Were there other factors? The same questions need to asked when considering the penalty for driving while distracted – specifically while texting – a purely voluntary activity that puts others in danger.

    I was recently listening to a podcast that asked the question: If we know that lowering the speed limit to 30 MPH maximum would save 50,000 lives every year, why don’t we do that? I think the answer is that most of us realize that life is not without risk,s and almost every effort to reduce risks involves trade-offs. So, we use the political process to decide what is or is not reasonable.

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