|Norm Stamper of LEAP: “Legalizing pot but not other drugs will leave huge social harms unresolved”|
With marijuana legalization apparently headed for the California ballot in 2010, Seattle’s former police chief is asking, “Why stop there?”, reports Matt Coker in the OC Weekly.
Police veteran Norm Stamper wore the blue for 34 years, and was the top cop in Seattle from 1994 until 2000. He’s also the author of Breaking Rank: A Top Cop’s Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing and one of the most prominent members of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).
Norm breaks it down in an AlterNet post, “Let’s Not Stop At Legalizing Marijuana,” citing polls that show a majority of Americans realize legalizing pot will produce a host of benefits, including, of course, the fact that 800,000 people a year will no longer be arrested for the herb. Taxation and regulation further bolster the pro-legalization arguments.
“This no doubt makes sense to some readers at first glance, since more people are familiar with marijuana than other drugs like cocaine, heroin or meth,” Stamper wrote. “However, even a cursory study of our Drug War policies will reveal that legalizing pot but not other drugs will leave huge social harms unresolved.”
Legalizing marijuana will not, for example, stop gangs from selling other drugs to kids, or from murdering each other and innocent bystanders, or from reaping enormous profits from the very illegality of the drugs they sell.
“Marijuana legalization is a great step in the direction of sane and sensible drug policy,” Stamper concludes. “But we reformers must remember that we’re working to legalize drugs not because we think they are safe, but because prohibition is far more dangerous to users and nonusers alike.”