The War on Drugs

In the April issue of The Atlantic, Eric Schlosser addresses the clumsy draconianism of current marijuana policies in an essay entitled "More Reefer Madness." As if to counteract the "sensationalism" of his conclusion - that marijuana should be decriminalized for personal use - Schlosser writes in a slow, measured, deadly earnest style, but the information he provides in building his case is nonetheless compelling.

Dangerously overcrowded jails where unlucky stoners average longer sentences than violent offenders. Dubious property seizure policies enforced by covetous federal drug agents, where houses, yachts, and farms can be had for the bargain price of a single joint. And perhaps most egregious of all, an informer's program that resembles multi-level marketing more than justice: turn in someone else and you get a reduced sentence, plus a bonus incentive of 25% of that person's seized assets.

Compared to the government's War on Drugs, Viet Nam looked like a triumph.

-- G. Beato

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