|Photo: Jimmy Carter Library & Museum|
|Former President Jimmy Carter: "Maybe the increased tax burden on wealthy citizens necessary to pay for the war on drugs will help bring about a reform of America's drug policies"|
In the New York Times op-ed, President Carter called the recommendations of the Global Commission on Drug Policy "courageous and profoundly important."
"In a message to Congress in 1977, I said the country should decriminalize the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, with a full program of treatment for addicts," Carter wrote. "I also cautioned against filling our prisons with young people who were no threat to society, and summarized by saying: 'Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.' "
"Those ideas were widely accepted at the time," Carter wrote. "But in the 1980s President Ronald Reagan and Congress began to shift from balanced drug policies, including the treatment and rehabilitation of addicts, toward futile efforts to control drug imports from foreign countries."
"One result has been a terrible escalation in drug-related violence, corruption and gross violations of human rights in a growing number of Latin American countries," Carter wrote.
"Maybe the increased tax burden on wealthy citizens necessary to pay for the war on drugs will help bring about a reform of America's drug policies," Carter wrote. "At least the recommendations of the Global Commission will give some cover to political leaders who wish to do what is right."