Sen Webb is getting ready to introduce major legislation to drastically alter US drug laws. He called the US criminal justice system "a national disgrace." Webb noted that the US has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prisoners! The president is against legalizing marijuana however.
Can you imagine how much money was wasted last year arresting 800,000 non violent people on marijuana charges? How many more people who have drug addictions were thrown into prison when they should have gone to drug treatment programs instead? What this country and particularly NYS ought to concentrate on are actual criminals and not waste billions in a drug war that turns citizens into criminals.
I was very happy to read this story in the NY Times yesterday Albany Reaches Deal to Repeal ’70s Drug Laws Gov Paterson and NY legislators have agreed to dismantle much of what's left of the 1970's drug laws and expand drug treatment programs (which is indeed much cheaper than incarceration.) The NYS drug reformation would put into the judges hands the fate of the arrested person.
Thirty six years ago, on the way to a Jethro Tull concert a friend and I suddenly had our car searched by the narcs and part of a joint was found. We weren't even smoking it! We were immediately arrested and hauled off to jail after being processed and mocked by the cops. This was 4 hours before the advent of the Rockefeller Drug Laws which were the most unfair drug laws in the country. It was meant to stem the tide of heroin addiction in NYS but mostly just threw anyone caught with any drug into jail automatically. The morning after my arrest, the local paper listed all the kids who were arrested for pot the night before the strictest drug laws came into effect as if we were so darn lucky, had it been a few hours later, we'd all have stayed in jail and they'd have thrown away the key. Handily, our dads golfed with the judge and we were let go because we were off to college in a few days and luckily the new drug laws hadn't gone into effect... so who knows what would have happened.