Overseas/Interdiction

El Paso City Council Wants Debate on Drug Decriminalization

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Earlier this week, the El Paso, Texas city council passed a resolution with 12 steps the U.S. and Mexican governments might take to quell the violence in Juárez, Mexico, El Paso's sister city just over the border.  Juárez saw 1,600 homicides last year, with 20 more already this year.

But it was the twelfth and final recommendation that brought out El Paso Mayor John Cook's veto pen: The city council unanimously voted to urge both governments to at least study and open debate about the possibility of legalizing narcotics.

It's encouraging that the city council managed to pass the resolution without a dissenting vote.  It's disappointing that in calling for no more than study and discussion, the resolution met only derision and dismissal from the mayor and from El Paso's congressman, Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas).

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27 responses to “El Paso City Council Wants Debate on Drug Decriminalization

  1. What is to debate? Just repeal the drug laws and the problem will fix itself.

  2. Holy crap, I agree with the Lurker. Is this bizarro reason?

  3. I think they should be voted out for even daring to discuss the idea of debating a resolution that would suggest calling for a study and discussion that will inevitably kill our kids.

  4. so if you’re ever wondering “what will it take to put legalization on the table” the answer is “a whole lotta murders.”

  5. I think they should be voted out for even daring to discuss the idea of debating a resolution that would suggest calling for a study and discussion that will inevitably kill our kids.

    How many dead bunny livers did you have to inspect to come to that conclusion?

  6. so if you’re ever wondering “what will it take to put legalization on the table” the answer is “a whole lotta murders.”

    …in your back yard. Without this last part, it doesn’t get on the table.

  7. From the files of reason’s server itself is one of the lost icons of the first prohibition era. People then figured out that prohibition does more harm than good so why the hell is it so hard this time around?

  8. Policy does not change unless Americans die. The closer it gets to home, the more realistic this change becomes. This is sad, but hopefully the murders can be stopped by clear-thinking rational decision-making.

  9. so if you’re ever wondering “what will it take to put legalization on the table” the answer is “a whole lotta murders.”

    Ka-CHING. Give that man a Kewpie doll.

  10. It will come to nothing.

  11. No worries!

    Obama’s going to be inaugurated in a few days, and based on some statement he said once years ago, he’s going to end the War on Drugs!

  12. Ironic, El Paso was the first to criminalize weed.

  13. A Democrat congressman deriding a resolution to end prohibition? Didn’t he get the memo that Obama is going to legalize pot on the 21st?

  14. That mayor must have his head so far up his own ass to veto this. The ammendment was for DISCUSSION. Close-minded drug warriors are gonna be here for a long time.

  15. “People then figured out that prohibition does more harm than good so why the hell is it so hard this time around?”

    Because, mostly, the police have learned their lesson. Prohibition busted everybody for booze. Black, white, Catholic, Protestant, whomever. You were found sitting in the speakeasy, you paid the price.

    This time around, the police only really bust the poor and/or stupid.

  16. Sadly, people are close minded about even DEBATING the subject. This is truly disturbing if you believe in the importance of discussion when it comes to our public policies.

    Poll on the site:

    Do you agree with the City Council resolution expressing solidarity with Juarez and asking the U.S. government to begin a debate on the legalization of narcotics?

    Yes 42.48%
    No 57.51%

    1864 Votes.

  17. I got some serious heat when I sent a letter to the Dallas Morning News three years ago suggesting that legalizing drugs would be the only way to end the border violence. Unfortunately, I can’t provide evidence as the only remaining copy was on Hammer of Truth, and God knows where that’s gone.

  18. Tyler, see my previous post. ‘Nuff said.

  19. This time around, the police only really bust the poor and/or stupid.

    And the unlucky, and a few people they setup or frame.

    To answer the original question, alcohol had a longer history of acceptance in the larger society than say, opium or marijuana.

  20. Found this jem in the comments section. Remember, this is how many people think:

    “Legalize Drugs. Lets see so we can buy crack, and heroin at the grocery store? How about Cocaine? How about LSD or Meth? Where do we draw the line? I say make it as in other countries, death for drug dealers. If you deal drugs which is just another name for death then you die. This is weather you are a citizen or not. That would save us from multiple invasions from the same dealer. You get caught dealing or smuggling drugs then you die.
    I guess this will not be a popular idea as the people around here would rather jail the Border Patrol than a Drug Dealer.”

  21. “But it was the twelfth and final recommendation that brought out El Paso Mayor John Cook’s veto pen: The city council unanimously voted to urge both governments to at least study and open debate about the possibility of legalizing narcotics.”

    How much does the government down there make off forfeiture actions? Again, when it comes to prohibition, so-called “law enforcement” personnel are the most essential part of organized crime.

  22. The intelligence level of discourse when discussing drugs is amazing. From the comments in the El Paso paper –

    Absolutely no mother and child should be forced to use illegal drugs. Illegal drugs enslave us to evil forces.

    This in response to the city council wanting people to friggin’ talk about legalization. That is soooo close to forcing mothers and children to use them.

    Americans are a stupid people.

  23. Federal Dog – unfortunately so true.

    Recommended reading: “Burning Rainbow Farm – How a Stoner Utopia Went Up in Smoke” by Dean Kuipers.

  24. While the Mayor’s attitude, his veto, and his “reasoning” for it is very disappointing I think the El Paso City Council and especially Beto O’Rourke deserve a lot of credit for doing something courageous.

    Who knows if voters down there will keep Beto around now? But he and the other city council members stuck their neck out anyway because they know it’s the right thing to do. We need more El Paso City Councils and more Beto O’Rourke’s in the world.

    Reason should be sending someone down to El Paso to interview this man… a Drew Carey or Nick Gillespie Reason.tv episode?

  25. The comments section is depressing. There is one border patrol officer who is completely rabid, almost every El Paso person is against the Council, and there’s only a few crazy libertarians from Georgia to argue the case for legalization, and they do it in the most asinine way.

  26. Mark –

    How do you know that “every El Paso person” is against the Council? What qualifies you to speak for everyone?

    And it’s no surprise that a border patrol officer is upset about this because if drug prohibition is repealed there would be less federal money coming his way. Throw in some enlightenment on immigration and he might even have to get a real job.

    Tell me, what is so asinine about just discussing drug law reform?

    Any attempt to draw national attention to the violence in Juarez would likely be dismissed as disingenuous without at least bringing up the idea of repealing drug prohibition.

    I say that because the people who really care the most about the drug violence in Juarez – other than El Paso – are the libertarians you find so crazy and some progressives.

  27. Who could have possibly predicted that the mayor of a border town might oppose efforts to end a lucrative black market that provides a nice pretext for getting federal funds?

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