Monday, April 06, 2009
Drug reform chances better than at any time in memory
I've been talking at some length to various figures in the drug law reform movement for the last couple of days for an article I'm preparing for next Sunday's Commentary section of the Register, and almost everybody agrees that the chances for significant reform are better than at almost any time anybody can remember. It seems only peripherally related to Obama, and it's worth noting that what Obama has done so far -- promised to stop DEA raids on dispensaries in states with medical marijuana laws and appointing the Seattle police chief, who has not actively resisted reform as drug czar -- has been exceedingly modest. Yet there's apparently a pent-up demand for serious reform that was essentially kept muted as simply impossible to consider during the Clinton and Bush years, when only fanatic drug warriors held positions of influence. And the discussion has moved quickly beyond medicalization and decriminalization to legalization. As Dale Gieringer, head of Cal NORML, told me, it surprised even him -- although he still thinks it will take years just to get marijuana legal. But I'm starting to see light at the end of the drug war tunnel.