A recent survey of mayors in the United States gleaned many nuggets of information, including the fact that many of them support marijuana decriminalization, to the tune of 79%. Politico Magazine’s survey touched on several topics, including race relations and areas where the mayors feel like the federal government should change course.
Mayors see the failure of the War on Drugs every day. They see the money wasted and sometimes they may even get to glimpse the lives ruined for no reason. In any case, common sense would tell most people that certain crimes should take priority over busting people with weed. Things like murder, robbery, rape, assault, arson, jaywalking, littering, etc.
Another reason for such overwhelming support from U.S. mayors could be all the good news coming from places like Colorado. Crime down, highway fatalities down, tax revenue up, economic activity up, housing prices on the rise, less money wasted by law enforcement. What mayor wouldn’t want all those things for his or her city?
And let’s face it: U.S. cities have some major problems, including budget shortfalls and runaway homicide rates. Anything that would get cops to be able to focus more time on murders should be welcome by the mayor of any city. For example, 426 people were murdered in Chicago last year. Shouldn’t that number be zero before anyone should even consider arresting someone for marijuana possession?
Add on top of all this is the fact that the War on Drugs itself creates an untold amount of violence, much like alcohol prohibition did in the 1920s and ’30s. It pits law enforcement against citizens for no reason at all. Instead of arresting violent criminals, police are arresting people for quarter bags and hauling them through the system.
Enough is enough. Our nation’s long experiment with prohibition has been an utter failure from beginning to end. To quote the great Barney Fife, we need to “nip it in the bud.”