US "drug czar John Walters has endorsed a proposal by Mexican president Felipe Calderon to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. Those caught with such awful contraband would not get a jail sentence or even have to pay a fine, and would not have a criminal record if they complete a drug education or drug treatment program.
"I don't think that's decriminalization," Walters said. Yet he actively (and unethically and probably illegally) inserts himself on the wrong side in the campaign to medicalize marijuana (a much more modest proposal) in Michigan. And while I haven't heard of activism on his part, I would be amazed if he doesn't oppose an initiative in Massachusetts to eliminate criminal penalties for marijuana possession,l making it simply a civil offense. And he opposes Prop. 5, which would offer drug treatment instead of jail to certain nonviolent drug offenders in California.
Mexico, of course, is experiencing significant violence as a result of the government's efforts to break up drug cartels. It's ruined the tourist industry in Baja. Obviously the government thinks limited decriminalization might help to reduce violence. It would work in this country too. Too bad John Walters can't see that.