Dec 4, 2011

Drug Legalization-Voices from El Paso: U.S. marijuana laws' costly failures

OpEd by Beto O'Rourke and Susie Byrd, who co-wrote “Death and Drugs: The Big Business of Dope in the U.S. and Mexico.” O'Rourke is seeking the Democratic nomination to represent El Paso (Texas) in the U.S. House. Byrd is serving her second term on the El Paso City Council.

San Antonio Express-News: "In 1913, El Paso became one of the first cities to ban marijuana. Other communities soon followed suit, and by 1937 the drug was banned by the federal government. The drive to prohibit marijuana was not motivated by efforts to reduce dependence, improve health outcomes or alleviate criminal activity in the general population. Its prohibition has a much more dubious provenance in the fears and prejudices that accompanied growing Mexican migration at the beginning of the 20th century.

... Nearly 100 years after El Paso enacted its initial ban on marijuana, the city bears daily witness to the violence that the marijuana economy inflicts on Juarez, our neighbor on the U.S./Mexico border. Since 2008, more than 9,000 people have been murdered in Juarez.

In a ground-breaking 2010 Associated Press report, Martha Mendoza found that the U.S. has spent over $1 trillion on the drug war .... And our return on that investment? In 2010, 35 percent of high school seniors reported that they had used marijuana, a number that has been fairly consistent since 1975. In fact, more high school sophomores tried marijuana last year than tobacco. At some point, sooner rather than later, we must admit that our current course has not worked." read more

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