Obama: Drug 'Legalization Is Not the Answer'
Summit leaders increasingly want to end war on drugs
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2012 7:45 AM CDT
US President Barack Obama attends the opening ceremony of the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia yesterday.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – With an election year well under way, President Obama went to the Summit of the Americas in Colombia determined to talk about trade deals and the economy. Unfortunately, many of the other leaders wanted to talk about the failed war on drugs and legalization, reports the LA Times. "In spite of all the efforts, the illicit drug business is still buoyant, drug addiction in all countries is a serious public health issue, and drug trafficking is still the main provider of funding for violence and terrorism," said Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

"Legalization is not the answer," said Obama, citing "the capacity of a large-scale drug trade to dominate certain countries" as "more corrupting than the status quo." Obama added he was open to a discussion of whether the drug war is "doing more harm than good in certain places." The president is attempting to underscore the positives in US-Latin American relations, but the drug issue and the Secret Service prostitution scandal are instead grabbing headlines. One thing in Obama's favor, though, is the absence of the region's most controversial leaders—Venezuela's Hugo Chavez canceled to get radiation treatment for his cancer in Cuba and Cuba's Raul Castro wasn't invited at all.

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JonmarkP
Apr 16, 2012 12:59 PM CDT
Corporations, who run our government, don't care if you get high - they just want a big piece of the action. The "war on drugs" is a $100 Billion per year industry with no competition. Make legal pot a $120 Billion per year industry *with no competition* and it's a done deal. Not easy when it's something people can grow in their back yards.
malcolmkyle
Apr 16, 2012 9:45 AM CDT
An appeal to all Prohibitionists: Most of us know that individuals who use illegal drugs are going to get high - no matter what, so why do you not prefer they acquire them in stores that check IDs and pay taxes? Even if we could afford to put Narcs on every single corner, at least half of them would soon become dealers themselves. Gifting the market in narcotics to ruthless criminals, foreign terrorists and corrupt law enforcement officials is seriously compromising our future. Why do you wish to continue with a policy that has proven itself to be a poison in the veins of our once so proud & free nation? Even if you cannot bear the thought of people using drugs, there is absolutely nothing you, or any government, can do to stop them. We have spent 40 years and trillions of dollars on this dangerous farce; Prohibition will not suddenly and miraculously start showing different results. Do you actually believe you may personally have something to lose If we were to begin basing our drug policy on science & logic instead of ignorance, hate and lies? Maybe you're a police officer, a prison guard or a local/national politician. Possibly you're scared of losing employment, overtime-pay, the many kick-backs and those regular fat bribes. But what good will any of that do you once our society has followed Mexico over the dystopian abyss of dismembered bodies, vats of acid and marauding thugs carrying gold-plated AK-47s with leopard-skinned gunstocks? Kindly allow us to forgo the next level of your sycophantic prohibition-engendered mayhem. Prohibition Prevents Regulation : Legalize, Regulate and Tax!
midget_farmers
Apr 16, 2012 6:08 AM CDT
if it is not the "answer" what is? the same failed policies we have had in the past?