Norm Stamper, the former chief of the Seattle Police Department, is no stranger to the drug legalization scene. He wrote the book “Breaking Rank: A Top Cop’s ExposÃƒÂ© of the Dark Side of American Policing” and now has an OpEd in the Los Angeles Times, making a strong argument for law enforcement to Let those dopers be (via ):
But no, I don’t favor decriminalization. I favor legalization, and not just of pot but of all drugs, including heroin, cocaine, meth, psychotropics, mushrooms and LSD.
[…]Prohibition of alcohol fell flat on its face. The prohibition of other drugs rests on an equally wobbly foundation. Not until we choose to frame responsible drug use – not an oxymoron in my dictionary – as a civil liberty will we be able to recognize the abuse of drugs, including alcohol, for what it is: a medical, not a criminal, matter.
[…]How would “regulated legalization” work? It would:
1) Permit private companies to compete for licenses to cultivate, harvest, manufacture, package and peddle drugs.
2) Create a new federal regulatory agency (with no apologies to libertarians or paleo-conservatives).
3) Set and enforce standards of sanitation, potency and purity.
4) Ban advertising.
5) Impose (with congressional approval) taxes, fees and fines to be used for drug-abuse prevention and treatment and to cover the costs of administering the new regulatory agency.
6) Police the industry much as alcoholic beverage control agencies keep a watch on bars and liquor stores at the state level. Such reforms would in no way excuse drug users who commit crimes: driving while impaired, providing drugs to minors, stealing an iPod or a Lexus, assaulting one’s spouse, abusing one’s child. The message is simple. Get loaded, commit a crime, do the time.
This is a long-overdue endorsement, but I have to wonder if the full-steam-ahead approach to legalization will bear fruit or invite complete dismissal as crazy. Hopefully his suggestions gain traction in the public debate, but I’m not holding my breath.