“Profoundly offensive, and an incredible waste”: Why are we busting drug users?


Days after cocaine use by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and U.S. Rep. Trey Radel made national headlines, Attorney General Eric Holder told a gathering of security ministers in Colombia that America’s “widespread incarceration is both inadvisable and unsustainable” and “carries both human and moral costs that are too much to bear.” Salon spoke afterward with Drug Policy Alliance founder and director Ethan Nadelmann, a key player in a movement that’s just had its biggest year in decades. Nadelmann told Salon why the Radel case makes him ambivalent, said President Obama has both shown “profound hypocrisy” and overseen “historic” progress, and offered his take on kids smoking pot. What follows is a condensed version of our conversation.What’s your reaction to [Holder’s comments]?It’s a strange feeling — at once wonderful and wary — when the attorney general … basically says the same thing that I and other reformers have been saying for the last few decades. I mean, it’s stunning. It’s stunning. Now mind you, the rhetorical shift, and the willingness to do so not just at a civil rights meeting in the U.S., but at a meeting of security ministers in Medellin, is, I think, quite remarkable — long overdue, but quite remarkable nonetheless.Continue Reading…

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