Run, Forest!


New at Reason: Once-rockribbed drug warrior Forest Tennant is on the verge of suing for peace. As Jacob Sullum explains, he's just one of many War On Drugs veterans who on the haunting flares have turned their backs.

NEXT: Condemn me. It does not matter.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Most politicians know that speaking honestly about drugs will…stop the flow of campaign money. Taxing drug dealers, on the other hand, won’t due much for their re-election fund. The corporate media know that speaking honestly about drugs will…stop the flow of advertising dollars. Police departments and prosecutors get huge amounts funding to sustain the drug war. TV sitcom producers get extra bucks from the feds to insert anti-drug messages in to their television shows. Drug testing companies hire lobbyists to insert testing provisions in to legislation…..

  2. And let’s not forget the wealthy people with the most to lose from legalization: Drug dealers. If legalization ever becomes a serious possibility, rest assured that drug dealers will give vast amounts of money to any politician who opposes legalization.

    Judge James Gray, an Orange County Republican who supports liberalizing our drug laws, mentioned in his book an example of a “dry county” in Nevada that considered legalizing liquor sales. The ballot measure was defeated after liquor stores in adjacent counties poured money into ads denouncing the evils of allowing liquor stores in the community. Those liquor stores in neighboring counties would have lost business if people in the dry county went wet and new competitors sprung up there.

    I don’t know what it will take to end the drug war, but the obstacles are quite clear, sadly.

  3. one of many War On Drugs veterans who on the haunting flares have turned their backs

    Could somebody please translate this into English?

  4. Never mind. I see now that it’s from some obscure poem.

    This line:

    he’s just one of many War On Drugs veterans who on the haunting flares have turned their backs.

    Would be much better as:

    he’s just one of many drug-war veterans who has reconsidered the campaign.

    Or, “who has changed his mind about the effort,” or whatever.

    Communication works best when it actually, you know, communicates.

  5. The drug war if anything is workfare. Never mind that it is a much too handy bludgeoning instrument easily picked up by any one in need to demagogue/fear monger about the poor, minorities, political opponents, celebrities, foreign countries, teenagers, convicts, lawyers, the ACLU, Jacob Sullum, Reason, common sense, ones own self, alternative paper/clothing products, freedom, etc. etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum.

  6. >>>So 400 out of about 2 million drug warriors have changed their tunes? That’s progress!

  7. The reason that most politicians don’t want to change drug policy is that most constituents won’t punish them for that stance. If a politician comes out in favor of ending the drug war, they perceive that some constituents will punish them at the ballot box.

    Also, don’t overstate the importance of campaign money on this (or any other) issue. Money is important, true. But it’s not as important as votes. Drug policy will change only when the votes from the public are there to change it.

  8. And votes cost money. Nobody knows who you are unless you get publicity, and to get publicity you need to either do something to make yourself famous or else run a campaign.

    I think it will take conservative Republicans with “tough on crime” credentials, who are conservative culturally, and who talk a good anti-government talk, to bring about liberalization of our drug laws. Ironically, it may take somebody who has never inhaled to persuade the country that it’s OK to legalize inhaling.

  9. So 400 out of about 2 million drug warriors have changed their tunes? That’s progress!

  10. Look, the feds and Congress are hell bent on prosecuting the drug war and continually expanding it. The only thing that will change this is money. Campaign contributions and hired-gun lobbyists are really the only effective means of representation in our democracy today. Would you rather spend that $40 on another bag, or give it to NORML? Just smoke a fatty and forgetaboutit, homey.

  11. Yeah, money will be the only thing to change this. But I would think the politicians could look at the tax money they could get by taxing the stuff and their eyes would bulge out and turn into dollar signs and make an AWOOGA! sound like a Warner Brothers cartoon. So why hasn’t that happened yet? I would think there would be far more loot to make off of a heavily taxed legal substance than the growing the prison industrial complex some more, but maybe I’m wrong.

  12. I think there is another way besides money. Opening up public dialogue at a national level could be another way of resolving the war on drugs. Sure there is some dialoge now, however, its limited, mostly pro-antidrug, and more importantly, causes the stigmatizing effect that speaking out against the ineffectual drug war labels one soft on drugs. The latter is what I figure to be a main reason why more politicians come out as anti-drug, they don’t want to be perceived as being “soft on drugs.”

    Recent gallup polls have shown that nearly 80% of the country is open to the idea of medical marijuana. Unfortunately, mainstream media rarely discusses this. It is also seen as a stepping stone towards decriminalization/legalization. It needs to be seen for what it really is, a stepping stone to a more sensible drug policy.

    Not only is national dialogue/debate critical to countering anti-drug propaganda, it would go a long way towards re-educating the masses on illicit drugs use and abuse. Admittingly, though, money is definitely key to opening ears and minds.

  13. “but maybe I’m wrong.”

    You can save time by not stating the obvious.

  14. “You can save time by not stating the obvious.”

    You can save time by not stating the obvious.

  15. endless loop

  16. Nice Wilfred Owen reference.

    Dulce Et Decorum Est, Dude?


    …about how overall, prohibition is good for the economy.

  18. EMAIL:
    DATE: 01/25/2004 10:18:18
    Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.