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Trump’s Drug War to ‘Help Police’ Only Puts More Cops in Danger, Enriches Cartels

Just after swearing in Alabama drug warrior Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, President Trump signed three new executive orders to pursue a ‘law and order’ agenda. One order seeks to protect police from violence, setting up a prelude to mandatory minimum sentencing and expanded definitions of crime.

Although 2016 violent police deaths are up from the previous year, the general trend is down considerably. As we reported in 2015, killings of police spiked during alcohol prohibition in the 1920s, and again in the late 1960s as drug prohibition ramped up. From there, killings of police have steadily declined, with recent years being almost the safest ever for cops.

Image Credit: Vox.com

The other two executive orders seek to: 1) reduce crime, especially “illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and violent crime,” and, 2) direct a review of the Threat Mitigation Working Group so it can focus on international drug cartels. Mexican cartels will undoubtedly be the prime target.

The ceremonious orders, underscored with false claims about rising crime and murder rates, would lead one to believe we are in the midst of an epidemic. But the reality is that crime rates — and especially the murder rate — are at near historic lows. Also, several studies have shown that immigrants are less likely to commit crime than people born in the U.S.

murder
Image Soruce: Vox.com

We don’t really know yet how team Trump will carry out the orders, but we do know they are not guided by the facts. The ‘law and order’ ideology – a throwback to the Nixon strategy of capturing white fear by harping on inner city and immigrant crime – has long been an obsession with Trump and Sessions.

Regarding the war on drugs, Trump gets points for saying he thinks states should be able to legalize cannabis. Sessions, however, is a rabid drug warrior who relies on falsehoods spouted by the DEA to justify his archaic thoughts on cannabis.

Although legal weed states may be left alone, from the executive orders it appears the general War on Drugs is about to see a major escalation – to the delight of the prison industry and law enforcement engaged in policing for profit.

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Ramping up the drug war, which has done nothing to reduce drug supply or use, would be a disaster that serves no purpose other than empowering the police state. This approach would demonstrate a complete ignorance of history, economics and evolution.

Where there is demand, there will be supply. If there is no legal market, there will be a black market.

The absurdity of prohibition should have been realized after the alcohol prohibition experiment, but federal and state government nonetheless set their sights on other drugs. We know drug prohibition was not based on regard for the health of American people, but was instead the product of racism, suppression of political dissent, and corporations erasing competition.

The drug war only worsens drug epidemics. The latest example is fentanyl, which is more potent than heroin but cheaper to produce. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid developed by the pharmaceutical industry, is now a popular product from Mexican drug cartels and is becoming more deadly than heroin.

In Portugal, where all drugs have been decriminalized for 16 years, problem users are more likely to seek out care and police are less likely to bother them. Overdose deaths have decreased dramatically, drug use is down, and far more people are in treatment programs.

The drug war breeds crime, degrades the health of communities, destroys opportunities with lifelong felony raps, and tears apart families by putting parents in jail. The drug war allows cops to steal property through civil asset forfeiture and kill countless people – especially minorities – every year.

The war on drugs is a war on people. It’s a threat to freedom and private property.

Under prohibition, where one drug organization is taken down, another pops up to satisfy the demand. The flow of drugs within the U.S. has never been staunched, despite law enforcement spending a trillion dollars over the decades of prohibition. On the macro scale, after the U.S. began its massive anti-drug campaign in Colombia, the drug trade simply moved to Mexico.

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The drug war only makes drug traffickers smarter. As U.S. drug enforcement battled one type of delivery vehicle, such as fishing boats, traffickers turned to cigar boats and then narco-submarines. At the Mexican border, drugs are hidden in cars, taped to human ‘mules,’ brought through tunnels and launched with catapults. The efforts of law enforcement only serve as a ‘filter effect,’ which breeds super-traffickers who can beat the system – not unlike the predator-prey evolutionary arms race in nature.

The drug war brings massive corruption to government agencies. In the past ten years, almost 200 Department of Homeland Security employees and contractors have taken almost $15 million in bribes, and that is only what investigators could find. Corrupt agents have “illegally sold green cards and other immigration documents, have entered law enforcement databases and given sensitive information to drug cartels.”

And there is the infamous episode during the 1980s where the CIA was supporting Nicaraguan rebels who were smuggling tons of cocaine into the U.S., making millions while creating a crack-cocaine epidemic in minority communities. The U.S. government denies that it authorized the smuggling, but to claim that it was unaware of these activities is beyond absurd.

Under prohibition, drug traffickers get more willing and able to carry out violence on a massive scale, as seen in the horrendous torture and murders of the Mexican drug cartels. In a black market, violence is a major tactic to disrupt competitors and increase market share of products in high demand.

All of this exists because of the War on Drugs. Escalating the drug war will not reverse these phenomena.

There is, however, stark evidence that ending the war on drugs would end the supremacy of drug cartels. As U.S. states have legalized cannabis, the amount of cannabis seized by federal, state and local officers has fallen – 37 percent since 2011.

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In predictable fashion, cartels have responded by pushing bigger quantities of more dangerous drugs, namely cocaine, meth, heroin and fentanyl.

To truly put drug cartels out of business, the only way is to decriminalize drugs. At the same time, people would be able to procure products through a safe and legal market. Those suffering with addiction could find treatment without fear of being thrown in a cage.

Instead of reducing supply and demand, “the international drug trade appears to be more profitable and efficient than ever before” – generating about $350 billion annually worldwide. Cocaine and heroin have gotten stronger and less expensive.

No amount of militarized policing and assaults on civil liberties will stop drug trafficking.

By stoking fear about non-existent crime epidemics, Trump is rationalizing his power grab while directing outrage at immigrants or ‘outgroups’ – a fundamental pillar of authoritarianism. Trump is taking a page from the playbook of Richard Nixon, who used the phrase ‘law and order’ to go after minorities and antiwar dissenters.

During the campaign, Trump suggested raising mandatory minimum sentences to fight the opioid epidemic, and called for stop-and-frisk policing – which doesn’t work and ends up targeting minorities – to be revived and increased.

Jails will certainly be fuller, but experts have concluded that mass incarceration – which costs the U.S. $182 billion a year – has very little effect on crime. Jailing 500,000 people for drug-related crimes results in $40 billion a year of lost productivity. Research also shows that aggressive policing strategies result in more crime, as community distrust runs rampant.

If these executive orders turn into anything more than political grandstanding, the American people will suffer. We cannot afford the escalation of a miserable war on drugs that is nothing more than a war on people.

  • foodforthought

    Regarding marijuana, 
I’d say, “Legalize it but don’t corporatize it.” Big business interests should not be allowed to outlaw home cultivation, the farmer’s roadside stand, or small businesses. A little competition may actually benefit larger firms. One cannot patent a plant, only strains which one has created. If home cultivation is forbidden, the number of strains available to patients and public alike will be limited to those that enrich a few wealthy people who favor ‘limited prohibition’ in order to line their own pockets. And commercial crops are likely to be pesticide-rich, rather than grown organically.

    No one should promote the canard that marijuana is dangerous, like pharmaceutical drugs. Or even that it is a ‘drug’, except in Merriam-Webster’s third and broadest definition, as something which affects the mind. By that definition, religion and television (‘the plug-in drug’) should also be included. In truth marijuana is a medicinal herb, cultivated, bred, and evolved in service to human beings over thousands of years.

    “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that had two enemies: the anti-war left and black people. We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting people to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, break up their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.” –John Ehrlichman

    Prohibition of marijuana is a premise built on a tissue of lies: Concern For Public Safety. Our new laws save hundreds of lives every year, on our highways alone. In November of 2011, a study at the University of Colorado found that in the thirteen states that decriminalized marijuana between 1990 and 2009, traffic fatalities have dropped by nearly nine percent—now nearly ten percent in Michigan—more than the national average, while sales of beer went flat by five percent. No wonder Big Alcohol opposes it. Ambitious, unprincipled, profit-driven undertakers might be tempted too.

    In 2012 a study released by 4AutoinsuranceQuote revealed that marijuana users are safer drivers than non-marijuana users, as “the only significant effect that marijuana has on operating a motor vehicle is slower driving”, which “is arguably a positive thing”. Despite occasional accidents, eagerly reported by police-blotter ‘journalists’ as ‘marijuana-related’, a mix of substances was often involved. Alcohol, most likely, and/or prescription drugs, nicotine, caffeine, meth, cocaine, heroin, and a trace of the marijuana passed at a party ten days ago. However, on the whole, as revealed in big-time, insurance-industry stats, within the broad swath of mature, experienced consumers, slower and more cautious driving shows up in significant numbers. A recent Federal study has reached the same conclusion. And legalization should improve those numbers further.

    No one has ever died from an overdose of marijuana. It’s the most benign ‘substance’ in history. Most people—and particularly patients who medicate with marijuana–use it in place of prescription drugs or alcohol.

    Marijuana has many benefits, most of which are under-reported or never mentioned in American newspapers. Research at the University of Saskatchewan indicates that, unlike alcohol, cocaine, heroin, or Nancy (“Just say, ‘No!’”) Reagan’s beloved nicotine, marijuana is a neuroprotectant that actually encourages brain-cell growth. Researchers in Spain (the Guzman study) and other countries have discovered that it also has tumor-shrinking, anti-carcinogenic properties. These were confirmed by the 30-year Tashkin population study at UCLA.

    Drugs are man-made, cooked up in labs, for the sake of patents and the profits gained by them. Often useful, but typically burdened with cautionary notes and lists of side effects as long as one’s arm. ‘The works of Man are flawed.’

    Marijuana is a medicinal herb, the most benign and versatile in history. In 1936 Sula Benet, a Polish anthropologist, traced the history of the word “marijuana”. It was “cannabis” in Latin, and “kanah bosm” in the old Hebrew scrolls, quite literally the Biblical Tree of Life, used by early Christians to treat everything from skin diseases to deep pain and despair. Why despair? Consider the current medical term for cannabis sativa: a “mood elevator”. . . as opposed to antidepressants, which ‘flatten out’ emotions, leaving patients numb to both depression and joy.

    The very name, “Christ” translates as “the anointed one”. Well then, anointed with what? It’s a fair question. And it wasn’t holy water, friends. Holy water came into wide use in the Middle Ages. In Biblical times, it was used by a few tribes of Greek pagans. And Christ was neither Greek nor pagan.

    Medicinal oil, for the Prince of Peace. A formula from the Biblical era has been rediscovered. It specifies a strong dose of oil from kanah bosom, ‘the fragrant cane’ of a dozen uses: ink, paper, rope, nutrition. . . . It was clothing on their backs and incense in their temples. And a ‘skinful’ of medicinal oil could certainly calm one’s nerves, imparting a sense of benevolence and connection with all living things. No wonder that the ‘anointed one’ could gain a spark, an insight, a sense of the divine, and the confidence to convey those feelings to friends and neighbors.

    I am appalled at the number of ‘Christian’ politicians, prosecutors, and police who pose on church steps or kneeling in prayer on their campaign trails, but cannot or will not face the scientific or the historical truths about cannabis, Medicinal Herb Number One, safe and effective for thousands of years, and celebrated as sacraments by most of the world’s major religions.

    • Inst. Simone Weil

      This is the best, most coherent piece of writing on the topic that I have come across… With my Catholic background, I am curious as to the fact that the plant is associated with Mary. I have used it for approximately half a century and feel in great health (for being closer to 80 than to 70). If you have anything to say about the Mary topic, let us know!!

      • foodforthought

        Thank you, Simone Weil. Perhaps Mary knew that this plant is in fact the Biblical Tree of Life.

        • Inst. Simone Weil

          You bet! So says this one of many incarnations of “the spirit of obedience to nature” that Weil intuited in the Virgin… Sylvia María de Jesús, at your service!!

    • Sandydog

      “‘The works of Man are flawed.'” And like many people, I would be dead without them.

      • foodforthought

        M-me tooo.

  • The Cat’s Vagina

    Stoking the fear of hysterical morons is the key to this whole operation. Why would people put up with something so oppressive and illogical? Fearmongering. “If we legalize drugs, crackheads will be stabbing you for crack money every second you’re out of the house. Also, your daughter will get addicted to heroin and start fucking random (black) guys for crack.”

    Remember how the governor of Maine told everyone that heroin was being brought in by black guys with funny nicknames, who would impregnate the local white girls and run away giggling?

    • Vincent D’Emidio

      When this War on the American People — oops! I meant the War on, ahem, “drugs” — no, actually I meant the WAR on the AMERICAN PEOPLE – well, anyway, when it ends, we TRUE Americans will be “giggling”!

      • Inst. Simone Weil

        I think it’s time we organize an appeal to the Supreme Court to PROVE TO THE COURT THAT TO MEDDLE INTO OUR SELF-HEALING POSSIBILITIES IS IN VIOLATION OF THE RIGHT TO A FREE CONSCIENCE AND TO DECIDE ON RELIGIOUS MATTERS OF OUR OWN ACCORD. TO SEPARATE THE BODY FROM THE SOUL IS A HEATHEN SELF-SERVING “MEDICAL” PRINCIPLE NOT TO BE ACCEPTED BY ANYONE, BELIEVER AND ATHEIST ALIKE… (although of course they allow for psychiatry, another self-serving mid road between separation and connection with the soul!). History shows how wrong our laws are on that and so many other scores!!

  • Tyrannicus_Rex

    No stupid, drugs were made illegal because regulating particular bad behavior they cause is beyond the scope of government. If all things were a simple as supply and demand, Venezuelan’s need not starve in their own country.

    • Vincent D’Emidio

      Yeah, but the ones who spread that PROPAGANDA about Marijuana were lying, and that’s a fact. Who the hell are these so-called “conservatives” to arbitrarily tell anybody what is right, and what is wrong, using THEIR “morality”, if you wanna call it that.
      Anti-Marijuana people are SHIT. Period.

      • Tyrannicus_Rex

        There are no conservatives or liberals. It’s a total lie to get people to pick a side and argue with each other over who and what gets to control the sheep.

        • Vincent D’Emidio

          Tell that to the so-called “conservative” lawmakers who refuse to give us a break!

      • Bokonon9

        Don’t assume that all conservatives are anti-marijuana. I am an old geezer conservative who uses medicinal weed, as do many of my old geezer friends. I also grow my own.

        • Vincent D’Emidio

          That may be correct…I am an old mo’fo’ myself…but it is the so-called “conservatives” who vote for other so-called “conservatives” who are continuing this War on the American People — oops! I meant the War on, ah, “drugs”. This is probably due to the fact that the WW II Generation, who almost ALWAYS vote, grew up in a time when pot was demonized by pretty much everybody. I am a Baby-Boomer, and MOST of us support legalization.

    • JP

      Wow, this is a new one. What are these “particular bad behaviors” you speak of and why should gov regulate them? I’m assuming you are talking about something besides violence, theft, corruption, etc…which people do perfectly fine without drugs, as you surely know.

      • Tyrannicus_Rex

        Im against criminalizing drugs. I’m telling you the government’s position inclusive of the war on drugs.

        • Vincent D’Emidio

          We need to not only “decriminalize” — we need to LEGALIZE herb.

  • Vincent D’Emidio

    This article is right on target. Prohibition never has worked, it doesn’t work now, and it never will work. So-called “conservatives” NEVER learn this FACT, so maybe it’s time to teach them some respect.

    • IceTrey

      Liberals aren’t too keen on changing things either. What did Obama do? Commute a few hundred sentences?

      • Vincent D’Emidio

        Yeah, I must agree. I expected him to Re-schedule Marijuana on the list of controlled substances, but he disappointed me. In some ways, he was not really strong enough to stand up to the entire Republican machine, and maybe he thought that Marijuana legalization was too risky for his political career.

        • IceTrey

          What career after his re-election?

          • Vincent D’Emidio

            Who knows? Maybe he wanted to be regarded as a “wise old sage”.

    • Inst. Simone Weil

      They are not interested in facts, only in the possibility of gain … something that will not change as long as the monetary system remains attached to debt!! Ours, of course… Our loss and their (totally illegitimate) gain… even if “legal”… The distance between what is legal and what is legitimate must be bridged!! But FAST!!

      • Vincent D’Emidio

        These prohibitionist ANIMALS must be SQUASHED!! But FAST!!

        • Sylvia María Valls

          Let’s work on appealing to the Supreme Court on the grounds of the laws relying upon an intolerable violation of our right to religious freedom. I am both willing and able to pursuade any reasonably intelligent court on the basic soundness of such a claim! Of course the entire Mafia opposes the only honest and viable solution to the crux -the cross– of the problem we are being crucified upon, for the sake of that devil incarnate in the money exchanging business! Instituto Simone Weil, valle de Bravo, Mx.

        • Sylvia María Valls

          Also, the reasonable expectation that basic economics be taken into consideration should accompnye the equally persuasive argument concerning religious freedom, the prime motive for the founding of the USA… or the future NorthAmerican conglomerate of bioregions around which our localities will be organized. There are as many “nations” living in the usa as there are tongues spoken. Language commonwealths are nations spread across many bioregions across the planet. Think cosmically, act locally, for the most part… but always with nature in sight! Our own to start with!

  • Racist roots and steeped in prejudice against minorities.From Opium to cannabis and beyond.Picked up by Richard Nixon who’s paranoia and hatred for minorities and war resisters made it too good to pass up.Even after his hand picked study group found it(cannabis) should be made legal.

  • youngcanoli

    Ther
    Stop the drug war with objective of shutting down the black market. The drug war has failed. The drug war is driving the problems, not fixing them. Decriminalization/legalization is necessary, it needs to be backed up with public health announcements explaining exactly why it is needed. Its not in any way condoning the abuse of addictors, it is done bc the alternative, the drug war, has made things infinitely worse on almost every level, to include making drugs abundantly available to any & all that wants them.
    We need to pull LE out of the drug biz – that will free up a lot of resources currently chasing their collective tails. When the laws create more harm and cause more damage than they prevent, its time to change the laws. The $1 TRILLION so-called war on drugs is a massive big government failure – on nearly every single level. Its way past time to put the cartels & black market drug dealers out of business. Mass incarceration has failed. We cant even keep drugs out of a contained & controlled environment like prison.
    We need the science of addiction causation to guide prevention, treatment, recovery & public policies. Otherwise, things will inexorably just continue to worsen & no progress will be made. Addiction causation research has continued to show that some people (suffering with addiction) have a “hypo-active endogenous opioid/reward system.” This is the (real) brain disease, making addiction a symptom, not a disease itself. One disease, one pathology. Policy must be made reflecting addiction(s) as the health issue that it is.
    The war on drugs is an apotheosis of the largest & longest war failure in history. It actually exposes our children to more harm & risk and does not protect them whatsoever. In all actuality, the war on drugs is nothing more than an international projection of a domestic psychosis. It is not the “great child protection act,” its actually the complete opposite. Let’s remember, opioids (drug) prohibition is a historical and cultural aberration, just 100 years old. We had fewer drug problems in my own grandparents’ time when opium, morphine, heroin, cocaine and cannabis could all still be bought legally over the counter. (Re)legalizing opioids would not be a “risky social experiment”, as some think. On the contrary, drugs prohibition was the reckless social experiment. And its a massive failure. Alcohol prohibition didn’t work, and opioid prohibition is failing even more miserably. The longer we’ve had drug prohibition laws in place, the worse have the social and health problems they cause gotten.
    The lesson is clear: Drug laws do not stop people from harming themselves, but they do cause addicts to commit crimes and harm others. We need a new approach that decriminalizes the disease. We must protect society from the collateral damage of addiction and stop waging war on ourselves. We need common sense harm reduction approaches desperately. MAT (medication assisted treatment) and HAT (heroin assisted treatment) must be available options. Of course, MJ should not be a sched drug at all.

    • Vincent D’Emidio

      Great post. I agree with 99% of what you wrote, except when you said, “Its not in any way condoning the use of” drugs. As for me, I advocate and Recommend the use of Marijuana. It is harmless, and a gift of the TRUE God…and it’s GREAT for the head!

  • youngcanoli

    drug

  • youngcanoli

    war

    • Vincent D’Emidio

      I agree, we need to go to war…with these Anti-Marijuana IMBECILES. They need to learn respect.

  • youngcanoli

    has

  • youngcanoli

    faiked.

  • youngcanoli

    The drug war has failed. Stop the drug war with objective of shutting down the black market. The drug war has failed. The drug war is driving the problems, not fixing them. Decriminalization/legalization is necessary, it needs to be backed up with public health announcements explaining exactly why it is needed. Its not in any way condoning the abuse of addictors, it is done bc the alternative, the drug war, has made things infinitely worse on almost every level, to include making drugs abundantly available to any & all that wants them.
    We need to pull LE out of the drug biz – that will free up a lot of resources currently chasing their collective tails. When the laws create more harm and cause more damage than they prevent, its time to change the laws. The $1 TRILLION so-called war on drugs is a massive big government failure – on nearly every single level. Its way past time to put the cartels & black market drug dealers out of business. Mass incarceration has failed. We cant even keep drugs out of a contained & controlled environment like prison.
    We need the science of addiction causation to guide prevention, treatment, recovery & public policies. Otherwise, things will inexorably just continue to worsen & no progress will be made. Addiction causation research has continued to show that some people (suffering with addiction) have a “hypo-active endogenous opioid/reward system.” This is the (real) brain disease, making addiction a symptom, not a disease itself. One disease, one pathology. Policy must be made reflecting addiction(s) as the health issue that it is.
    The war on drugs is an apotheosis of the largest & longest war failure in history. It actually exposes our children to more harm & risk and does not protect them whatsoever. In all actuality, the war on drugs is nothing more than an international projection of a domestic psychosis. It is not the “great child protection act,” its actually the complete opposite. Let’s remember, opioids (drug) prohibition is a historical and cultural aberration, just 100 years old. We had fewer drug problems in my own grandparents’ time when opium, morphine, heroin, cocaine and cannabis could all still be bought legally over the counter. (Re)legalizing opioids would not be a “risky social experiment”, as some think. On the contrary, drugs prohibition was the reckless social experiment. And its a massive failure. Alcohol prohibition didn’t work, and opioid prohibition is failing even more miserably. The longer we’ve had drug prohibition laws in place, the worse have the social and health problems they cause gotten.
    The lesson is clear: Drug laws do not stop people from harming themselves, but they do cause addicts to commit crimes and harm others. We need a new approach that decriminalizes the disease. We must protect society from the collateral damage of addiction and stop waging war on ourselves. We need common sense harm reduction approaches desperately. MAT (medication assisted treatment) and HAT (heroin assisted treatment) must be available options. Of course, MJ should not be a sched drug at all.