Senator Leahy: After Spending Billions on the War on Drugs…Well, We’ve Lost

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director January 17, 2013

    The Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the most senior member of the Senate, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) again spoke out against the War on Drugs today during a briefing on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s upcoming agenda.

    “The fact that so many people, especially young people, go to prison for a relatively minor thing, a drug offense. And then you ask, why can’t they get jobs afterward? Why do they have problems from then on?

    I think we have spent tens of billions, hundreds of billions of dollars on the so-called War on Drugs. Well, we’ve lost.” – Sen. Leahy

    Senator Leahy also addressed the disproportionate toll marijuana prohibition takes on people of color:

    “There are too many people, too many young people, too many minorities, too many from the inner city who are serving time in jail for people who might have done the same thing but have the money to stay out and are not there.” – Sen. Leahy

    It seems time does bring wisdom and other members of Congress should take notice and follow the lead of one of their most experience legislators. The time for sensible marijuana policy has come and this reaffirmation of support from an elected official, in such a position of influence as Senator Leahy, is clear proof the winds of reform are blowing strongly in our favor.

    The full remarks are available from C-SPAN here. You can also read further media coverage here.

    59 responses to “Senator Leahy: After Spending Billions on the War on Drugs…Well, We’ve Lost”

    1. shedrick brow says:

      It’s about time Congress understands that if you want employment to go up they need to change drug laws…big companies can cash in on it too…most people like to drink and smoke…Tobacco companies should sell both,along with tobacco farmers…not to mention clothes textile’s,and alternative fuel’s.

    2. Bill Skiman says:

      It’s about time that a Senator has spoken in this manner against eben minor drug offenses. Pot should be taken off the lists of any criminal offense list. Amen to Senator Leahy

    3. Galileo Galilei says:

      A costly lesson for the country – prohibition doesn’t work. Any real drug war would have targeted nicotine, by far the greatest killer. Medically beneficial marijuana is illegal; physically addicting carcinogen tobacco is legal. Public policies that defy the results of reproducible scientific studies mean exorbitant costs in health care.

      You could not consciously design a more counterproductive outright perverse policy. I, for one, am tired of paying for it.

    4. JC says:

      Well said Senator Leahy, now all the other senators need to sign HR 2306 and remove Cannabis from scheduling all together, put it in the same schedule that grapes are in.

    5. TheOracle says:

      I’d like to go directly to that time in the video without having to watch the whole thing. I don’t have that much time. Some of us work really long hours at thankless, sucky jobs. Nope, couldn’t find the transcripts to do a word search for a search term from your quote. Toil doing the shitwork and then prohibitionists want to throw people in jail for cannabis.

      Anyway, thanks to Leahy.

    6. TheOracle says:

      Thank you Sen. Leahy. It’s another voice, kind of wishy-washy as it sounds because I didn’t hear anything about changing the federal laws prohibiting cannabis. It’d be nice if he branched out to there from what he said in the excerpt. If you don’t change federal law you’re still arresting cannabis folks. That just ain’t right.

    7. Derik says:

      There is another petition for marijuana on we the people that needs support. Norml please help promote it!!! If anybody wants to see the voice of the people look at the number of signatures for January 17 alone!

    8. disvet13 says:

      we should all send a thank you to the senator and encourage him to continue in his efforts for reforming marijuana laws. I vote for complete legalization of all cannabis, and senator leahy needs to know every one else does.

    9. ddroozy69 says:

      Let’s get senator Leahy to be at a norml meeting , with barney frank and president Clinton and get a bill sponsored to legalize. Mine eyes can see the glory

    10. claygooding says:

      Getting congress to admit the war on drugs is a failure is an important step but now comes the hard part,dismantling the drug war machine and all the policies enacted such as drug screening and bounty money to police for marijuana arrests,,until they remove that particular money maker for police organizations the war is still on.