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porphyrian

(18,530 posts)
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:10 PM Sep 2012

What is the best course of action for us, as citizens, to take to end the Drug War?

Mounting evidence suggests that the "War on Drugs" is a giant failure that we cannot afford, that is a part in the insane for-profit prison industrial complex and that is unpopular with the majority of the American populace. What is the real life course of action we can take, as individuals or as a group, to stop this in the best possible way for everyone?

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What is the best course of action for us, as citizens, to take to end the Drug War? (Original Post) porphyrian Sep 2012 OP
Join the Marijuana Policy Project Ezlivin Sep 2012 #1
Changing laws is where it's at. Thanks. n/t porphyrian Sep 2012 #2
Jury nullification Neue Regel Sep 2012 #3
Precedent is everything. Thanks. n/t porphyrian Sep 2012 #4
I was going to say that also. This provision in the judicial system was intended to allow the sabrina 1 Sep 2012 #7
This is good to know. Thanks. n/t porphyrian Sep 2012 #24
I would like to learn more about "jury nullification". rhett o rick Sep 2012 #32
I think it may differ by state in state courts, though federal courts should be the same. n/t porphyrian Sep 2012 #33
Here is some information on Jury Nullification. sabrina 1 Sep 2012 #34
Thank you so much. This is very interesting. I knew none of this. nm rhett o rick Sep 2012 #42
This is a great idea abumbyanyothername Sep 2012 #37
Jury nullification. (n/t) Iggo Sep 2012 #5
Thanks. n/t porphyrian Sep 2012 #6
Nothing changes without grassroots movement mick063 Sep 2012 #8
Agreed. Thank you. n/t porphyrian Sep 2012 #10
Support changing state laws, especially in initiative states. Comrade Grumpy Sep 2012 #9
Thanks again. n/t porphyrian Sep 2012 #11
You need to define what drugs are acceptable to you. randome Sep 2012 #12
I agree with this. mick063 Sep 2012 #13
This reference would streamline the lawmaking... porphyrian Sep 2012 #26
I don't believe ending the "War on Drugs" would alter the availability of any drugs. porphyrian Sep 2012 #14
Yeah, well, I don't want my daughters to find themselves with a medical or social problem. randome Sep 2012 #17
Especially true for those who have lost loved ones in drug-related incidents. porphyrian Sep 2012 #18
Absolutely agree with you on that. randome Sep 2012 #19
I have a sister in law who has fought addiction liberal_at_heart Sep 2012 #27
I believe addiction problems are medical rather than criminal, or should be. n/t porphyrian Sep 2012 #30
That is one of the problems liberal_at_heart Sep 2012 #25
Who cares wins. Thanks. n/t porphyrian Sep 2012 #28
The drug war has not lessened the availability of drugs of any kind. It has merely sabrina 1 Sep 2012 #35
Tons of illegal drugs are interdicted all the time. randome Sep 2012 #36
I know I am not going to change your mind on this abumbyanyothername Sep 2012 #38
No it is not, it simply calculated into the business, and tons and tons more sabrina 1 Sep 2012 #40
I'm sorry but that simply isn't true liberal_at_heart Sep 2012 #41
The sane and selfish reasons are the most effective imo. gulliver Sep 2012 #15
Agreed. Thanks. n/t porphyrian Sep 2012 #16
Dont to drugs? Dokkie Sep 2012 #20
I'm not saying anyone should or should not do drugs. porphyrian Sep 2012 #22
live post ruhulaminrete324 Sep 2012 #21
Hi. n/t porphyrian Sep 2012 #23
when we talk drugs, what drugs? DonCoquixote Sep 2012 #29
We can make it however we want it, but it can't stay like this. porphyrian Sep 2012 #31
Think legal meth labs abumbyanyothername Sep 2012 #39

Ezlivin

(8,153 posts)
1. Join the Marijuana Policy Project
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:14 PM
Sep 2012

or the Drug Policy Alliance.

These two organizations are helping changing laws across the nation. MPP has done more in a few years that NORML accomplished in decades.

http://www.mpp.org

http://www.drugpolicy.org

 

Neue Regel

(221 posts)
3. Jury nullification
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:18 PM
Sep 2012

Do not attempt to shirk jury duty when you are called, and if you end up on a jury in a drug case vote not guilty except in the most egregious cases, e.g. giving meth to a baby, having a child sell crack, etc.

We have got to move drug offenses from the criminal courts and into the civil courts as a first step towards sanity.

sabrina 1

(62,325 posts)
7. I was going to say that also. This provision in the judicial system was intended to allow the
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:24 PM
Sep 2012

people to overturn bad laws. Just one juror can refuse to convict someone, even if the evidence shows s/he violated a law, if the juror believes the law to be a bad one.

It is one tool that can be used to get rid of these draconian laws. And electing people who support ending the phony war on drugs.

 

rhett o rick

(55,981 posts)
32. I would like to learn more about "jury nullification".
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 04:47 PM
Sep 2012

From my experience on juries, the judge gives very specific instructions regarding how to decide your verdict. I am not sure but believe that if it is obvious that you arent following the instructions the judge can take some action.
For example, the judge might say that if the prosecution has proven that the accused had possession then you must enter a verdict of guilty. If there is overwhelming evidence to prove possession, then I believe if you held out for innocent, the judge would take some kind of action.
Like I said, I need to learn more about this.

sabrina 1

(62,325 posts)
34. Here is some information on Jury Nullification.
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 05:19 PM
Sep 2012
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_nullification

Jury nullification is a constitutional doctrine which allows juries to acquit criminal defendants who are technically guilty, but who do not deserve punishment. It occurs in a trial when a jury reaches a verdict contrary to the judge's instructions as to the law.

A jury verdict contrary to the letter of the law pertains only to the particular case before it. If a pattern of acquittals develops, however, in response to repeated attempts to prosecute a statutory offence, this can have the de facto effect of invalidating the statute. A pattern of jury nullification may indicate public opposition to an unwanted legislative enactment.

In the past, it was feared that a single judge or panel of government officials may be unduly influenced to follow established legal practice, even when that practice had drifted from its origins. In most modern Western legal systems, however, juries are often instructed to serve only as "finders of facts", whose role it is to determine the veracity of the evidence presented, and the weight accorded to the evidence,[1] to apply that evidence to the law and reach a verdict, but not to decide what the law is.

Similarly, juries are routinely cautioned by courts and some attorneys to not allow sympathy for a party or other affected persons to compromise the fair and dispassionate evaluation of evidence during the guilt phase of a trial. These instructions are criticized by advocates of jury nullification. Some commonly cited historical examples of jury nullification involve the refusal of American colonial juries to convict a defendant under English law.[2]

Juries have also refused to convict due to the perceived injustice of a law in general,[3] or the perceived injustice of the way the law is applied in particular cases.[4]

There have also been cases where the juries have refused to convict due to their own prejudices such as the race of one of the parties in the case.[5]

Other cases have revealed that some juries simply refuse to render a guilty verdict in the absence of overwhelming direct or scientific evidence to support such a judgment. With this type of jury impaneled for the trial of a case, even substantial and competently presented circumstantial evidence may be discounted or rendered inconsequential during the jury's deliberation.[citation needed]


I believe a law was passed, NOT outlawing jury nullification, but making it illegal for judges and attorneys to inform jurors of the power they have to do so.

The Founding Fathers viewed jury nullification as a tool in the hands of the people against tyrannical laws and intended it to be used to nullify unjust laws which they anticipated.


"The jury has the power to bring a verdict in the teeth of both the law and the facts."
— Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes,
Horning v. District of Columbia,


Just this year eg, NH passed a law allowing lawyers to inform juries that they do have the right to do this. I have to find some more information on this, but I was happy to see a reversal of the law forbidding juries from being informed of this right.

abumbyanyothername

(2,711 posts)
37. This is a great idea
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 05:33 PM
Sep 2012

And actually worth forming a political action movement around.

Educate citizens that they are allowed to refuse to convict under unjust laws whose effect has been devastating.

 

mick063

(2,424 posts)
8. Nothing changes without grassroots movement
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:25 PM
Sep 2012

Politicians will do whatever it takes to win elections.....including the decriminalization of pot. The typical American citizen must give the impression that this should be the agenda. That can only be done with organization, communication, and dedication.

The first steps are to educate yourself, weigh the facts, and acknoweldge counter arguments.

Present it like putting weights on a balance scale. When all the pro or con argument weights are added to the scale which way does it tip?


In my mind, the scale tips to a minimum of decriminaliztion and there is a strong argument for legalization.
 

Comrade Grumpy

(13,184 posts)
9. Support changing state laws, especially in initiative states.
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:29 PM
Sep 2012

Marijuana legalization is on the ballot in three states--Colorado, Oregon, and Washington

Medical marijuana is on the ballot in two states--Arkansas and Massachusetts, and probably North Dakota.

Short of repealing prohibition outright, we can:

Legalize marijuana.

Decriminalize drug possession.

De-fund the drug war machine, both at the state level and federally.

Support harm reduction measures, such as needle exchanges, supervised injection sites, and Good Samaritan overdose laws, which encourage people to report overdoses by removing the threat of prosecution.

 

randome

(34,845 posts)
12. You need to define what drugs are acceptable to you.
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:33 PM
Sep 2012

If the drug 'war' lessens the availability of heroin, cocaine, etc., then I am a full supporter.

But marijuana possession should be decriminalized.
Draconian sentences revised across the board.
Greater availability of treatment centers.

If any of you think that all it takes is for someone to flip a switch -politically speaking- then you will never get anywhere with this.

But if you take a position that appeals to the vast majority of people, you will get closer to your objective.

IMO.

 

mick063

(2,424 posts)
13. I agree with this.
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:40 PM
Sep 2012

The frame of reference should be alcohol.


Anyone that has a history of smoking weed knows what i am talking about. I do not condone the legalization of drugs comparable to or worse than alcohol.

For that reason, the "drug war" will never truly end. But let's be pragmatic about it and weigh each drug indivdually. The savings to taxpayers would be enormous with the legalization of pot.
 

porphyrian

(18,530 posts)
26. This reference would streamline the lawmaking...
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 04:28 PM
Sep 2012

...since we already have alcohol laws; we could just model marijuana laws from them. Sadly, making it easier to write for lawmakers tends to increase the likelihood that things get written. I won't make any guesses as to why. Thanks again.

 

porphyrian

(18,530 posts)
14. I don't believe ending the "War on Drugs" would alter the availability of any drugs.
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:43 PM
Sep 2012

They're all already here. What it would do is change who users got their drugs from and what would happen if they got caught getting them.

I don't believe the propaganda that drug use would suddenly increase if drugs were decriminalized or legalized. Look at Portugal...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drug_policy_of_Portugal

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/07/05/ten-years-after-decriminalization-drug-abuse-down-by-half-in-portugal/

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1893946,00.html

I also believe that drug use should be considered a medical or social issue rather than a criminal one, which is what the status quo defines it as.

Thanks.

 

randome

(34,845 posts)
17. Yeah, well, I don't want my daughters to find themselves with a medical or social problem.
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:57 PM
Sep 2012

And I doubt I ever will because they are too smart and energetic to let drugs slow them down.

Keeping hard-core drugs less available is a good thing, IMO. I think the vast majority of people agree with that.

If you only see things in terms of 'right' versus 'wrong' or 'consistency' or 'logic', you won't get anywhere on this issue.

There is an emotional side to the issue that will never go away.

 

porphyrian

(18,530 posts)
18. Especially true for those who have lost loved ones in drug-related incidents.
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 04:00 PM
Sep 2012

I don't believe ending the Drug War is an all-or-nothing thing necessarily. However, it is difficult to dispute that what we have now is neither working nor sustainable. We have to do this differently.

liberal_at_heart

(12,081 posts)
27. I have a sister in law who has fought addiction
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 04:30 PM
Sep 2012

for decades. I fear for her life and I fear for what her addiction is already doing to my brother and my niece. Making the drugs illegal will do nothing to fix the problem. We have to invest the money we are currently spending on the war on drugs and spend on community outreach programs. Use public funds to educate people and help them overcome their addictions.

liberal_at_heart

(12,081 posts)
25. That is one of the problems
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 04:25 PM
Sep 2012

As democrats we are suppose to look at things logically. It is because they use emotion over logic that the republicans have come up with so many rediculous ideas. I have a seventeen year old daughter and a fourteen year old son, so I know there is an emotional side to this. My daughter's friends are already doing the illegal things that people think will just go away if we don't make them legal. These kids are going to get their hands on anything they want anywhere, anytime no matter what the laws are. Does making sex education and birth control illegal stop people from having sex? No. Making drugs illegal does nothing to prevent people from doing drugs. It is the people who need the medicine who are not getting what they need unless of course they get it illegally. If we were not in a legal state I would absolutely put my butt on the line and make sure my husband had the medicine he needed whether it was legal or not even if that meant we went to jail. You have to stand up for those you love especially when they are suffering. You have to stand up for your principles. I will not allow people's preconceived opinions and judgments stand in the way of my husband getting his medicine. Even if that means doing it illegally. Thankfully, we do live in a state where it is legal.

sabrina 1

(62,325 posts)
35. The drug war has not lessened the availability of drugs of any kind. It has merely
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 05:25 PM
Sep 2012

made them more profitable, resulting in violent Drug Cartels so enriched they are more powerful in some countries than law enforcement and even the government.

I am for decriminalizing all drugs and then regulating them, and taxing them, the money to be used for education rather than going into the hands of Drug Lords. This will result in removing the profit margin and eventually destroy the Drug Cartels and their power. It will end the for profit racist private Prison Industry which is also a reprehensible result of the phony Drug War.

The Mafia thrived because of prohibition of alcohol. Drug Cartels are the result of making the same wrong decisions all over again and we now have even more brutal and vicious criminals rising to power and even influencing governments.

When the cure is worse than the disease it's time to end it and return to some kind of sanity.

 

randome

(34,845 posts)
36. Tons of illegal drugs are interdicted all the time.
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 05:32 PM
Sep 2012

That's lessening the availability. Having drugs available at the grocery checkout counter would definitely increase the availability.

That seems obvious to me.

abumbyanyothername

(2,711 posts)
38. I know I am not going to change your mind on this
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 05:40 PM
Sep 2012

but I disagree.

Everyone who wants to use drugs knows where to get them. Whether at the supermarket or on the street corner.

sabrina 1

(62,325 posts)
40. No it is not, it simply calculated into the business, and tons and tons more
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 05:50 PM
Sep 2012

replace any interceptions, as we all know. But the main reason we know what a spectacular failure the phony War on Drugs is, is that drug use has not diminished.

We have lost precious rights under the Constitution using this phony 'War' as an excuse to do so.

Throwing people in jail, for profit, does not cure addiction. So we know ending drug usage is not the goal of the phony War on Drugs.

Decriminalize all of it and start acting like a country that has some semblance of reason. If we don't, other countries will do it for us, as is now happening.

Of course the Drug Cartels are totally opposed to decriminalization, which is understandable..

gulliver

(13,129 posts)
15. The sane and selfish reasons are the most effective imo.
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:45 PM
Sep 2012

All those people in prison for drugs are not taking up housing, so the housing market suffers. Kids who just want marijuana now have to buy it from people who also have meth and heroin on sale. Incarceration and arrest backgrounds hobble people's chances of education and future employment, keeping people dumb and dependent.

The drug war is ruining us while not stopping drugs.

 

Dokkie

(1,688 posts)
20. Dont to drugs?
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 04:06 PM
Sep 2012

Just kidding. How about we all do drugs? there is no way they can arrest everyone if they did drugs. Think about it

 

porphyrian

(18,530 posts)
22. I'm not saying anyone should or should not do drugs.
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 04:15 PM
Sep 2012

However, it is a fact that the "War on Drugs" is an expensive, miserable failure that is in part responsible for the violent Mexican border gang problems they now want more money to stop; no one would be buying from people that may kill them if they could get what they wanted at 7-11. What do we do to fix it?

DonCoquixote

(13,611 posts)
29. when we talk drugs, what drugs?
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 04:32 PM
Sep 2012

For example, Marijuana may be a silly drug, but no more so than liquor.
Now, by the same token, I do not want Meth Labs near me, if nothing else because they have a bad habit of exploding in flames.
Bolivian style coca tea, ok, no worse then Red Bull
Cocaine....another story.

 

porphyrian

(18,530 posts)
31. We can make it however we want it, but it can't stay like this.
Sat Sep 1, 2012, 04:47 PM
Sep 2012

There are arguments for legalizing even the harder ones (I believe the late Gore Vidal made a good case in an essay), but I don't know. The fact is that we have a very expensive failed project that appears to be doing more damage than good that no one is stopping. It's similar to having a wild tiger at a day care to kill rodents. How do we fix that?

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