In the Washington Times, former flack for the Democratic National Committee and self-proclaimed "libertarian Democrat" Terry Michael asks Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to show some consistency on the drug war.
Our story thus far: in May, Grammy Award-winning producer Dallas Austin was picked up in the United Arab Emirates with a bit more than a gram of cocaine and faced up to a decade in jail in that relative oasis of liberalism in the Middle East. Hatch, who uses the same law firm as Austin when it comes to his music career, intervened to get the producer sprung, saying he's against mandatory minimums here and abroad.
Writing in the Wash Times, Michael argues
Mr. Hatch, I am hopeful your efforts to save an American being abused in Dubai will cause you to re examine the drug-war abuse millions of Americans face here everyday….
I understand how difficult it will be to return to drug policy sanity. I had jury duty this summer and was sent out on a panel for a case of marijuana possession with intent to distribute. I wasn't chosen for the jury, but it made me realize how much the Drug War Industrial Complex has to lose if we change our laws. Probably a third of the jobs in that courthouse would disappear. Thousands of lawyers, prosecutors, DEA agents, and prison guards would have to find productive employment. Local law enforcement offices would lose much of their federal funding for high-tech toys.
But America would be a less violent and healthier nation. Billions fewer tax dollars would be disbursed as welfare to the legal industries formed around the drug war. And official corruption, stimulated by the lucrative black market we have created with our policies, would diminish, not just in Colombia, Mexico and Afghanistan, but right here in America.
Whole thing here.
Michael's "notes from a libertarian Democrat" blog here.