Don’t Give the Public What it Wants

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As John Tierney points out in today’s New York Times, the public furor over meth usage is only the most recent fracas related to a long series of poor drug-policy decisions. And why are the policies created? Beating up on drugs, and drug users, is an easy way for the political class to score points with a crime-fearing public. When the media (including journalists) hypes the threat, they are only priming the pump. On this issue, good politics makes bad policy, and will until public perceptions about the efficacy of our drug laws come to match reality.

Mark Kleiman has a good post on why meth, as it stands now, is probably not a good candidate for legalization, as Tierney sort of suggests it might be. That step might work for say, pot, and not much else. But there are lots of reform possibilities, including decriminalization of small amount possession, that might go a long way towards helping addicts of more dangerous drugs. The point here is that even common sense steps like these fall victim to joint public-politician lust for the prohibition war.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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