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The Invisible Truth: Former Police Chief Advocates Legalization of all Drugs

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Monday, December 05, 2005

Former Police Chief Advocates Legalization of all Drugs

Former Chief of Police in Seattle Norm Stamper wrote an opinion/editorial piece in the Los Angeles Times in support of not simply the decriminalization of marijuana, but the outright legalization of all drugs. He contends that the unrecognized casualties of the War against Drugs are the taxpayers. A huge percentage of prisoners have graced the space behind bars because of drug charges, and the United States has the largest prison population of any nation in the world.

Besides the nearly 69 billion dollars these often non-violent offenders cost taxpayers each year that would be saved, revenue from the regulation, sanitation, and sale of such drugs would be generated. Needless to say, the drugs would also be safer if they were regulated, and the violent organized crime that sprouts out of drug trafficking might undergo drastic reduction. Stamper believes that society would be safer and more secure if these drugs were legalized, regulated, and if we treated drug abuse medically rather than criminally.
Mr. Stamper points out the contradictions of allowing tobacco and alcohol, both undeniably drugs, to be legal and regulated, but prohibiting other drugs. He cites his experience as a police officer as what lead him to his conclusions, after becoming tired of arresting potheads who he did not believe belonged in prison. Non-violent criminals might indeed become violent because of their exposure to a violent prison culture, if simply by reason of self-defense. It's a slippery slope from self-defense in prison to offense out of prison.

Mr. Stamper has been engaged in a speaking tour on this topic, and at one of his talks recently the police chief of one of the largest cities in the United States approached him and told Norm that he agreed with him. When asked if Mr. Stamper could quote him on that, the chief replied "What, do you think I'm crazy?"

Obviously, free speech is relative. It is not uncommon to experience circumstances where we feel uncomfortable speaking our minds. While I am undecided about the efficacy of the outright legalization of all drugs, I applaud Mr. Stamper for having the courage to speak his mind considering the political climate of the United States.

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