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tv   [untitled]    January 9, 2013 2:30pm-3:00pm EST

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the four year media project free video down to r.t. dot com. welcome to cross talk on people about the so-called war on drugs has been fought for decades if you believe it is achieved much beyond horrific budgetary costs and extremely high levels of incarceration in the us as well as the staggering death toll south of the border as some american states liberalized their drug laws is it time for the us as a whole to do the same. across not the war on drugs i'm joined by peter hachim in washington he's president emeritus and a senior fellow at the interim american dialogue and in boston we have kevin so bad he is director of the drug policy institute at the university of florida and
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a former white house senior adviser under rug policy all right gentlemen crosstalk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want to come and i am i to go to you i mean talk about colorado is talking about washington i mean the perception outside of the united states is that the united states is legalizing it at home but continuing the war on drugs in mexico so how do you square the circle. well i mean you know colorado and washington had votes but frankly federal law is still supreme in what federal laws and this is what president obama has said numerous times is that marijuana still illegal so i think the message to the world is that just because two states decided to legalize marijuana that this is really going to be caught up in the courts for a while and this is really the beginning of the conversation and not be and you know unfortunately voters were sold a false choice between prohibition on one side and super inforced and criminalization and legalization on the other side and the reality is that the this is actually a false choice this is not between legalization or prohibition you can actually
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have a kind of policy that it's much more nuanced than that ok peter in washington what do you think about what the people in colorado and washington have done recently in the last election well given the choices and frankly i think kevin. has put them out there that that's the choice that we seem to have a lot of collateral damage or legalization and i would like to see a more nuanced approach but frankly from what i see. i would have voted for legalization in both elections like i say i think the damage that we're currently inflicting on young people in these this country the damage that's going on in latin america that i don't think that i think kevin is absolutely right this is the beginning of a conversation i very much hope that the united states will look at its drug war
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overseas and open up that conversation with the latin americans in a very serious way to look at the current policy and the alternatives look i would have voted for legalization ok how do you react to that kevin because i mean the war on drugs as people call it do you think it's a success i mean we go through a lot of the issues really. you know the only people who use that right right the only people that use the term war on drugs are not the government anymore frankly it's people who want to use that as a rhetorical tool to advance legalization it's not a good analogy we don't have a war on our own people the issue is legalizing marijuana in a few states frankly even if you did it in the united states is not going to stop the criminal cartels and the transnational criminal organizations they're making their money from human trafficking from piracy from political crime extortion kidnapping from cocaine heroin and meth the idea that they're making a majority of their money for marijuana was debunked by
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a very good rand study that came out in two thousand and ten so you know this idea that marijuana legalization is going to somehow wipe them out just doesn't work i do think we can call for a new approach and that kind of approach could be one where we have treatment where we do drug courts and drug courts are essentially money is going to go to the. approximately forty you're enjoying a lot of money forty billion dollars a year what percentage is to prevention it's a third. level prevention and treatment or no i think prevention and treatment are close to forty percent but remember it costs a lot more money to buy an apache helicopter than it does to fund a drug court so you have to be also careful when you when you do that kind of well you know the supply versus demand of no doubt about it we need more money in prevention and treatment but legalizing a drug because we already have legal alcohol and tobacco what has been the result of that where well we get taxes from it it's sold there are age limits but what has been the result is that for every dollar in taxes the united states receives from
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legal alcohol or tobacco it costs us ten dollars in social costs so we don't need to legalize something to make it to control it we can actually keep it illegal so that we don't have big industry promoting it to kids but at the same time we also don't need to throw everybody in jail for small amounts of use so i don't live in this world where it's black or white you know we go to jail or it's legal we can do better than that ok pete if i go back to you i mean we haven't said when it's not a war against our own people but the level of incarceration the united states is extraordinary that is a war on a population that at least in one sense well i was again i think we can use words in lots of ways i think. the problem is that you have in latin america today a norm is level of violence and killing that people believe is related to the drug war whether it is or not whether kevin is right that
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legalizing marijuana in a few states is not going to have any effect i think he's probably right but the fact is that the latin americans for a long time have been calling for a real conversation with the united states to talk about how drugs are for now how we frame and implemented anti drug policies and there's been very little response from washington and in the united states. it's we seem to have brought the problem under control by. basically. cocaine use is down marijuana use is increasing heroin use is down but the violence associated with drugs has been controlled now the costs are very very high the drug violations the numbers of people in jail the use of our police forces going to
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a criminal court in any small town anywhere in the united states and a big majority of cases are drug related cases the damage is enormous one cannot talk about. either so any solution without looking at what damage it's also doing this is a very messy nasty situation look at alcohol i will cause an enormous you know that right i mean the numeral programmed kevin jump in go ahead right it doesn't peter that's a that's a great point peter alcohol is legal and causes enormous damage i don't see why we would want to add another drug to. when you're talking about incarceration nobody is proud of the fact that the u.s. has gone from four hundred thousand people in state and federal prison to one point four million over tripling in the last twenty years that's not something to be proud of but actually what we've learned is that there are ways to work within the criminal justice system to deliver treatment to deliver drug courts where you actually have a social worker and a doctor and others that are giving people treatment and having sort of
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consequences if you don't attend treatment they're actually ways to work within the system and there are ways to improve the system i mean just because you say we don't want to legalize drugs it doesn't mean that that means we don't want to reform our criminal justice system which i would agree is also let me jump in here we have five really i'm very happy to be on probation and there is no hurry they were not going to be joined by ethan nadelmann he's in new york he is the founder and executive director of the drug policy alliance and thank you for being with us on the program here i think you heard part of that here i mean your the other side of the coin here the war on drugs you would say is a failure of course it's a failure i mean i just heard the last moments of what kevin save it said but his notion that you need the criminal justice system to deal with addiction in every case is absurd by his logic we taking people's cigarette addiction alcohol addiction food addiction everything else and using drugs towards going to prison with i mean drug testing so i think that's an absurd notion i think beyond that he appears to be oblivious to their effect negative consequences to the failed
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prohibitionist policies i mean quite frankly one reason why voters in washington in colorado supported an end to marijuana prohibition was because they said it's time to stop trying to enforce it on a forcible prohibition why should we be empowering gangsters in mexico in the united states why should we be empowering a black market worth tens of billions of dollars a year why should we be arresting seventy thousand americans a year on petty marijuana charges one and say we can tax control and regulate this stuff and i can the arguments are very lucky there's been a development of those initially i mean what you're implying i don't like having unlike ethan i'm. happy to unlucky and i'm happy to say that there are pros and cons of every policy but the idea that gangsters are empowered by people smuggling i thought you knew where i was here it was because there you can all see it well so that is what the issue is the issue is i didn't care if they were being extremely straight keep it on line look we need to wait to acknowledge that there are pros and cons of every of every drug policy frankly we do need a new approach in a lot of this i think in latin america and peter brought this up earlier was
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a very good observation we need to look at things like how to train police better how to work with the justice system the health system the education system the idea that we need to legalize drugs in order to help with corruption and security and health and education in latin america is totally absurd let's work on those individual initiative things or can i just say like mary was. going to be sure you know we want you to talk to every single thought i had peter in washington i had what seems to me is that the legalization is in some sense should be taken by washing and anybody who is in favor of prohibition as an alarm that people there has been the response of the call for alternatives i look at latin america i've been working there for forty years and the way the u.s. goes about dealing with the drug problem drug issues in latin america is similar to
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the way it was done thirty years ago look at the u.s. in honduras recently it's just so similar to the way we dealt with bolivia and peru thirty years ago that's just and the latin americans have never been able to get the attention of the united states polluted alternatives ken lay and reading into that right a little ization is not opposed to the part of the road but they're not looking at us as simply refused any idea of a debate discussion and now they're ringing the alarm. bells in the only way to get washington's attention i think there is to me yes i mean i think there really is a option of alternatives that yeah right there well peter you're right only they should write the legalisation to talk about reform so i know but you know i hadn't while i was you know as a jew that more of the talk about reforms you know i worry so well but the issue we're going to basically are the reason why you have always right we don't know why
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you're right gentlemen i'm to jump in we're going to wear short break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on the legalization of drugs state party. let me let me will. let. that speak. to.
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mislead good. amount. of money better luck. to be soo much brighter if you move. from phones to christian. news crews start on t.v.
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don't come. to. me for a few. times or. welcome
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back to cross talk on people welcome to remind you we're talking about america's war on drugs. even i'd like to ask you and everyone else on the panel the true beneficiaries of the of the a mare of the american government's war on drugs are the following drug cartels drug dealers various law enforcement agencies and even pharmaceutical companies agree or disagree i think that's basically right. thank you i mean look at it. well it's like out there a ways of alcohol prohibition right the principle beneficiary of prohibition are the organized crime are the criminals the gangsters mexico colombia west africa afghanistan you name it right also we have a prison industrial complex in america which is growing dramatically in power and money and now employs hundreds of thousands if not millions of people many of whom are simply trying to defend their jobs for the pharmaceutical companies it's trying
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to defend their quote unquote good drugs against the other quote unquote bad drugs in a day and age when more people are dying of pharmaceutical drugs oftentimes in the other drugs and often times where those drugs are oftentimes more dangerous than the drugs are illegal so i think your hypothesis is right on spot ok kevin go ahead well i think we should have let's try and talk about this rationally rather than with emotions and shouting matches the issue is. and was actually a right how are you going to have it will be there after drugs are legalized after drugs are legal let me finish i'm going to say they will be there and they're going to be able to understand they won't be there i don't think they're going to are going to be around so we don't need to legalize to get them away the second thing is you take away their power to go you know really actually law enforcement you know what do you think this is and they could just let me finish my point the bottom line is law enforcement and other these one of these approaches kevin and i want to right it's legalized alcohol which is a legalized drug today alcohol which is a legalized drug today causes a million more arrests in the united states then all of our legal drugs combined so
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police are going to be frankly we're going to need more police after legalization because more people are going to be intoxicated there's going to be more crime and there's actually going to be more of a need for incarceration so frankly treatment doctors law no one is going to ever want to not a zero if it pharmacist zero have it all the evidence is that two point six million people are arrested zero evidence get it where's the evidence that marijuana creates that horrific alcohol does next year you know that is that marijuana is the when you're not leaving and i know there will be the end up being the zero evidence get all let you go ahead ok peter you want to. do it i want a lot of companies well let me just say one thing that you know six million people use arrested for alcohol . peter. let me just. try to sort of suggest that the use of the word legalization and war on drugs both have connotations what if we were to discuss kevin ask you this not
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legalization in the large but the say what category should marijuana belong to should it is it more like alcoholism or is it more like cocaine and the fact is if it's more like alcohol why don't we either make alcohol illegal or legalize marijuana in other words what i'm saying is that maybe the debate shouldn't be about legalization would brings up all kinds of images and. scares people but if you talk about does marijuana belong in the same category of drugs as cocaine and that maybe we should experiment with marijuana legalization to see what the results are clearly the experiment without all is not a great success but neither was prohibition these are guns half of the population
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wants guns to be legal it's very hard to manage these and you try to find some kinds of middle ground and for now it seems to me the middle ground may be leaning toward the legalization of marijuana and i came into and there's a good way to go ahead sort of if i can get an answer without without even interrupting i think what what's interesting about alcohol versus marijuana is that alcohol unlike marijuana and are other illegal drugs has a long widespread use in our culture dating back thousands of years obviously marijuana has been used for thousands of years too but not in such a widespread sense as alcohol so we sort of made a cultural decision to legalize our call but that is frankly praeter you're right that's not our peril i mean alcoa. kills five hundred thousand one hundred thousand people a year in the united states worldwide hundreds of thousands it's frankly directed directly tied to crime in a way that more than crack cocaine is because of its prevalence but you know just because your windshield wiper is broken on your car you don't also break the
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steering wheel to be consistent i don't think we legalize marijuana just because alcohol which might be worse is also illegal i think we first of all we need to raise alcohol taxes in the united states we need to do a lot more of the alcohol because frankly the legal alcohol industry is pushing underage drinking it's pushing heavy drinking it's a huge problem that actually to me is a warning i don't want another to care let me ask you a lot of marijuana to come up and do a similar thing here and i want to go to the question is a simple one it's not. to talk about legalization even to marijuana talk about sort of having some kind of serious examination of whether marijuana belongs in the same category of tokay whether anybody should be arrested for example for possession of marijuana is not leaving the station as any question i want is really just related like cocaine in terms of right but marijuana is not treated like cocaine in terms of penalties when people are serving long sentences
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for example for cocaine and they're not serving one sense of for marijuana and i'm not saying that they should but i read them a nation of our policy is looking at sort of thing about examine what it is and we should say is let's not legalize it ok i don't even like that term because people confuse decriminalization all the time ok but in the beginning i don't think i mean it's not necessarily i mean it's going to be from so you're going to go to prison for possession of marijuana it doesn't you know yes people are going to jail they may not be going to state and federal prisons but they are going to jails there are five million people in america under the supervision of the parole and probation system and for them simply being does action of a joint or testing positive for marijuana. the lead to incarceration is for in new york city you have people being arrested and sent to jail for a few days if the any other sort of criminal evidence can be for much longer i want to say i agree with virtually resigned kevin before because what he was saying about all policy i largely agreed with i think the key point also is that the
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argument is not to legalize marijuana because we've legalized alcohol the point is and to peter hakan i would say we can't really put this conversation aside because now the country is evenly split on the issue of legalizing marijuana like alcohol washington and collar vote rather voters just said fifty five to forty five in the last election other states are going to do the same and we have to take certain risks and certain opportunities to move in a new direction is there a risk to legalizing marijuana might more people use it yes that is a risk but the potential benefit in terms of reducing a black market that has up to tens of billions of dollars a year the potential benefit of taxing and regulating this and allowing police to focus on real crime we need to move in that direction kevin go ahead jump in. you know. i mean the issue is police are not today focused on small time marijuana i agree with ethan that in new york city and some other places you know you end it with probationary goal of having a are you going to be around the going to be that's a major source of i don't want and i'm and i'm not disagreeing with that part of it
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i'm not disagreeing with a lot of what you said at the moment you just did the opposite of it as you please and i think anyone is ever going to want to organise amount of time millions of man hours arresting people remember what i'm saying is what i'm saying it's not as if this is just a strategy issue in america there are people doing the right things who are wise are trafficked a lot and there are a lot of times in all of those will you know one hundred people out in a relatively good ones in their pockets that are being targeted so hold on police are not focusing the majority of their care i want you're going to your reality will be anyone else you lied to me or make some marijuana they are not. being targeted the issue is this when we look at when we look at alcohol and tobacco as an industry we see that they are targeting young people we see that they are encouraging heavy use we see that they are fighting any tax tooth and nail or alcohol taxes so they are a fifth of what they were during the korean war when adjusted for inflation that's not an accident that's because there's an industry that knows when something is
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more expensive less people use it believe it or not a positive approach marijuana is that the prices artificially high or a negative is that that money does go to consumption is go to unsavory you know criminal organizations a minority of their funding comes from marijuana so we need a balanced approach i'm not saying throw people in jail if and i'm not saying to even follow some of the examples we see around the country right now i'm saying let's intervene we haven't even talked about the health effects of marijuana when we look at young people and brain changes with i.q. and learning and driving i mean these are real issues mental illness that we don't get to know you don't do you have. this notion that marijuana is creating this horrible health problems in america is absurd the last three occupants. the white house half of all americans between the ages of eighteen and sixty have tried it so marijuana is a drug you should be using it every day we don't want kids using it but the notion of when comparing it with alcohol or other illegal drugs in terms of dangers is absurd there is no one really jim and no scientific body there very very good and
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i'm not saying that they're saying out those responsible on your part and let me let me there's no mystery here is what i was saying that i'm doing now enjoy your owners and i did and i will leave those things i know you know to analogize and. i'll hold other drugs moved you know let me know use marijuana light out for us to say the police are not focusing on ok well you know me better sure but i started to say that arresting people for marijuana is like giving it a try i think you need to have bullying so it stays here and you really don't and i thought you were going to tell you it's you know i want our cabin has a floor i'm kevin ok thank you thank you we have a moderator ok the issue is most people who use any drugs don't get in trouble with that whether it's cocaine heroin cigarettes or marijuana the chances of addiction for marijuana are lower than alcohol or cigarettes i'm not saying that that's not the case one in six kids who use marijuana but when they're as adolescents will have an addiction that's not a majority but i think that's plenty to worry about when the british medical
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journal says that you're sure they want to get on marijuana it's doubled i'm sure that's also an issue i want to give but i want to get. in the last word when you have peter a nationalist government be regulating people's vices. depends what those devices are certainly is racial advice i mean sure the government should be regulating vices. what else is there a government going to be regulating virtues. i know i think that the question is the one ethan raise that half of the country right now sorry gentlemen we've run out of time i wish you could have answered the question many thanks indeed my guess is boston washington and in new york and thanks to our viewers for watching us here are to see you next time remember. we believe it will.
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