[The RP’s Provocation; Jason Atkinson’s Rebuttal #1; The RP’s First Defense: Jason Atkinson’s First Response; Artur Davis’ Rebuttal #2; The RP’s Second Defense; Artur Davis’ First Response; Ron Granieri’s Rebuttal #3; Jeff Smith’s Rebuttal #4; The RP’s Third Defense; Artur Davis’ Second Response; Jeff Smith’s First Response; David Host’s Rebuttal #6; Don Digarolamo’s Rebuttal #7]
To Artur: If there is any message where there is common ground in this debate, it’s been the one you’ve raised — it is critical that we revisit discriminatory enforcement practices against minorites. We may not all agree that the drug should be legalized; but all people of good faith should insist that we treat all Americans equally in the criminal justice syste,.
To Jeff: There is no denying that you are right that we have lost the War on Drugs, and I agree that we need a cease-fire when it comes to marijuana. I just can’t go as far as you do when it comes to harder drugs. Society has to draw a line somewhere when it writes laws, and I simply think that the dollars we could save in reducing enforcement of harder drug use and distribution are not sufficient to countenance the lives that would be destroyed if the drugs are made more available.
To David: I appreciate your conflict on this issue as you apply your conservative values to this debate, and applaud you for understanding the need to revisit the harsh prison terms applied to marijuana users and distributors. And no question, we can never lose the message that marijuana is terrible for kids. Where I disagree is that I believe that it will be very easy for law enforcement to distinguish between the drugs that do great harm to society and those that don’t, as we have since Prohibition. I also don’t think keeping marijuana illegal will do anything to help law enforcement crack down on the sale and distribution of harder drugs. My ultimate point is that society can and must draw a line between soft and hard drugs and develop policies that protect people on both sides of the line.
To Don: I’m very grateful to you for sharing your obviously very passionate and educated views on the subject, as well as stories of how the War on Drugs has gone tragically wrong at times. I also am fascinated by the Portgual example and want to investigate further. However, for reasons I have elaborated in earlier posts and in my response to Jeff above, I feel strongly that we must draw a line between marijuana and harder drugs; that as a society, we cannot countenance legalizing a drug whose very use — not abuse, but simply use — causes harm to its user, and which has been demonstrated to dramatically increase the propensity to violence.
To the RP Nation: Thank you for joining us in what has turned out to be one of the most excited and most trafficked days of the site. I promise many more debates like these as the weeks progress,a nd I look forward to your opinions and input on topics.