Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg addresses supporters at a campaign event, Thursday, May 9, 2019, in West Hollywood, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
I like the look of Pete Buttigieg — he’s got the countenance of an eager, optimistic kid.
Perhaps it’s with great optimism that he has a decidedly libertarian idea: Legalize drugs.
I don’t mean pot.
A big problem: drugs.
Pete says make ’em good to go.
Easy peasy, and it’ll stop the rising incarceration rate.
Will it help his Democratic cred?
As he conveyed to the Des Moines Register, Pete thinks nobody should be behind bars for drugs:
“Incarceration should not even be a response to drug possession.”
The paper asked:
“Is that across the board? So if it’s meth or coke or ecstasy, any drugs, if it’s possession, incarceration isn’t…”
Buttigieg explained that his views have changed:
“I would not have said even five years ago what I believe now, which is that incarceration should not even be a response to drug possession. What I’ve seen is that, while there continue to be all kinds of harms associated with drug possession and use, it’s also the case that we have created: In an effort to deal with what amounts to a public health problem, we have created an even bigger problem — a justice problem and its own form of a health problem.”
The mayor goes into more detail on his 2020 site:
“Eliminate incarceration for drug possession, reduce sentences for other drug offenses and apply these reductions retroactively, legalize marijuana, and expunge past convictions.”
Former White House Drug Czar Bill Bennett had some thoughts about that, which he shared with Fox News:
“This is crazy. This is a bright guy. I don’t agree with him, but obviously he’s a guy of some subtlety and intellect. No subtlety here. He acknowledges the harm that these drugs do—goodness gracious, it’s incredible the harm these drugs do. … We have a terrible problem going on in this country. We do not need to encourage more of it.”
Bill asserted that legalization doesn’t — as it’s been supposed — shut down the black market:
“The legalization movement, one of the hypotheses there was that it would end the black market of drugs. With legal marijuana, the black market would disappear. … “The black market has grown, because it undercuts the legal market by selling cheaper. Of course, it’s easier to hide the black market when you have legalization going on. But again, why would one want to encourage more of this? Ninety-five percent of the people who would get into trouble with heroin, with cocaine, with meth, started with marijuana. The marijuana that’s out there now is four or five times stronger than the marijuana in the 60s or 70s.”
Bennett’s definitely down on pot:
“[It] leads to mental problems, serious mental impairment, lack of focus—not good for students obviously—anxiety, and then later in life, it can lead to psychosis, and often does. … Sorry to be worked up on this, but this is just nuts what we’re doing here.”
America’s addiction and mental health care crisis has been building for decades—due to decades of neglect by political leaders in Washington. Today, I’m proposing a new approach that tackles this crisis with the urgency and care it deserves. pic.twitter.com/U8F9DXJPC2
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) August 23, 2019
Back to Pete, he thinks putting drug offenders in jail just creates criminals of their kids:
“If you think about the adverse impact on the child…we have kids in South Bend who’ve grown up with the incarceration of a parent as one of their first experiences. That makes them dramatically more likely to wind up, themselves, having an encounter with the criminal legal system.”
If that’s the path we go down, where do we stop? And why not just decriminalize whatever the kid grows up to do? Same effect?
Decriminalization is exactly what he wants:
“To ensure that people with a…substance use disorder can heal, we will decriminalize these conditions. When someone is undergoing a crisis or is caught using a drug, they should be treated by a health professional rather than punished in a jail cell.”
Personally, I’m in favor of everyone mostly being able to do as they wish. I do believe, however, that if you could pick up some crack at Walmart, we might be looking at a less functional and safe society.
Still, if that day ever comes, I recommend Sam Walton’s gift to the world. Their stuff may not be as nice as Target’s, but it’s cheaper.
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