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Exit Strategy

May 17, 2013
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The Drug Policy Alliance has created a new document; An Exit Strategy for the Failed War on Drugs: A Federal Legislative Guide

The report basically recognizes that after decades of incorporating the drug war into the very fabric of the federal government, the U.S. needs more than just an understanding that the drug war has failed, but it actually needs an exit strategy. The Drug Policy Alliance provides 75 concrete actions that could be taken to help the federal government exit this failed drug war.

Here are some examples:

  • Eliminate abstinence-only zero tolerance policies.
  • Make harm reduction a cornerstone of U.S. drug policy.
  • Allow states to reform their drug policies without federal interference.
  • Reform the 1961, 1971 and 1988 U.N. treaties on narcotics drugs and support the rights of other countries to set their own drug policies.
    Reform civil asset forfeiture laws.
  • Limit the Drug Enforcement Administration’s authority over the practice of medicine.
  • Restore voting rights to formerly incarcerated individuals and people on parole and probation.
  • Eliminate random, suspicionless drug testing of most federal employees and reform the Drug-Free Workplace Act.
  • Sunset drug war programs.
  • Eliminate or cut subsidies to local law enforcement agencies for drug enforcement activities.
  • Prohibit federal agencies from undermining state marijuana laws.
  • Repeal federal mandatory minimum sentencing.
  • Reform federal provisions prohibiting people convicted of a drug law violation from accessing public housing, and prohibit federal housing authorities from punishing entire families for the action of one family member.
  • Encourage and allow for the establishment of supervised injection facilities.

Of course, most of these on their own are totally insufficient to eliminate or even significantly reduce the harms of the drug war, but you’re looking at such a daunting task as dismantling the federal drug war machine, it helps to have a defined set of concrete steps that can be taken.

This is one useful document among many. The Exit Strategy doesn’t, for example, provide a look at how legalization might be structured. For that, we turn to Transform’s excellent After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for Regulation

Speaking of legalization, thanks to Allan for providing us with a link to the draft regulations for selling marijuana in Washington State.

I think I got through about half of it before complete boredom set in (although there were a few light moments such as the example of a regulation-proper label for “Space Cakes”). I found myself wondering if they would be this exruciatingly, mind-numbingly detailed about the regulations for producing plutonium, and wanted to ask “Did anyone tell them this is just about pot?”

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Pete Guither is the editor of drugwarrant.com

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