Philadelphia, PA — Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner told the media this week that his office is “very close” to the prospect of refusing to kidnap and cage people for possessing drugs. This would make Philadelphia a leader in the nation and the first nail in the coffin that is the violent and immoral war on drugs.
Krasner told “Axios on HBO” that instead of kidnapping and caging people for possessing substances deemed illegal by the state—which has shown to be a horrifyingly violent and corrupt failure—those resources will be spent helping the person get clean.
“Possession is different than dealing, it’s different than carrying a bunch of drugs you intend to sell or deliver later, it’s just possession. We are talking about people who are using drugs, the vast majority of them suffering from addiction. I do not see value in convicting people like that, thereby making it harder for them to get a job,” said Krasner. “It seems to me to make a lot more sense to hold them accountable in ways that do not require a conviction. We are very close.”
Indeed, helping people fight addiction instead of locking them in a cage is a far more effective solution to the drug problem then locking them in cages or giving them a felony charge which makes them unemployable.
Naturally, the police—who maintain job security, constant pay raises, and acquisition of military gear through enforcing the immoral drug war—disagree with Krasner, and are fear mongering about the possible repercussions of such a policy.
“It’s not a good idea,” said John McNesby, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police. “Small amounts of marijuana, fine, but once you start getting into the other scheduled drugs, it’s kind of a recipe for disaster.”
But multiple studies and actual real life applications of such a failed policy show that McNesby is dead wrong. For decades, the US has been kidnapping, caging, and killing people for drug use and the problem has gotten worse—not better. We now find ourselves in the midst of one of the worst drug epidemics in history and no amount of police force or violence is doing anything to solve it. In fact, it does the exact opposite.
Richard Nixon, in his effort to silence black people and antiwar activists, brought the War on Drugs into full force in 1973. He then signed Reorganization Plan No. 2, which established the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Over the course of five decades, this senseless war has waged on. At a cost of over $1 trillion — ruining and ending countless lives in the process — America’s drug war has created a drug problem that is worse now than ever before.
This is no coincidence.
For years, those of us who’ve been paying attention have seen who profits from this inhumane war — the police state and cartels.
The reason why the drug war actually creates a drug and violence problem is simple. And those who profit most from the drug war — drug war enforcers and cartels — all know it. When the government makes certain substances illegal, it does not remove the demand. Instead, the state creates crime by pushing the sale and control of these substances into the illegal black markets. All the while, demand remains constant.
We can look at the prohibition of alcohol and the subsequent mafia crime wave that ensued as a result as an example. The year 1930, at the peak of prohibition, happened to be the deadliest year for police in American history. 300 police officers were killed, and innumerable poor people slaughtered as the state cracked down on drinkers.
Outlawing substances does not work.
Criminal gangs form to protect sales territory and supply lines. They then monopolize the control of the constant demand. Their entire operation is dependent upon police arresting people for drugs because this grants them a monopoly on their sale.
It is incredibly racist too. The illegality of drug possession and use is what keeps the low-level users and dealers in and out of the court systems, and most of these people are poor black men. As Dr. Ron Paul has pointed out, black people are more likely to receive a harsher punishment for the same drug crime as a white person.
This revolving door of creating and processing criminals fosters the phenomenon known as Recidivism. Recidivism is a fundamental concept of criminal justice that shows the tendency of those who are processed into the system and the likelihood of future criminal behavior.
The War on Drugs takes good people and turns them into criminals every single minute of every single day. The system is setup in such a way that it fans the flames of violent crime by essentially building a factory that turns out violent criminals.
The system knows this too — as the very existence of the police state is dependent upon the drug war. When drugs are legal, there are far fewer doors to kick in, fines to collect, profit prisons to fill, and money to steal.
When drugs are legalized, gang violence drops too — drastically. Not only does it have a huge effect on the localized gangs in America, but the legalization of drugs is crippling to the violent foreign drug cartels too.
This is why the Free Thought Project and other open-minded groups all advocate bringing this bloody and criminally ineffective drug war to a sudden and grinding halt.
Hopefully, this move in Philly is the beginning of a snowball effect that will bring the war on drugs to its knees.