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Reason.tv: Judge Jim Gray on The Six Groups That Benefit From Drug Prohibition

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In 1992, Jim Gray, a conservative judge in conservative Orange County, California, held a press conference during which he recommended that we rethink our drug laws. Back then, it took a great deal of courage to suggest that the war on drugs was a failed policy.

Today, more and more Americans are coming to the realization that prohibition's costs—whether measured in lives and liberties lost or dollars wasted—far exceed any possible or claimed benefits. Reason.tv's Paul Feine interviewed Gray about drug policy and the prospects for reform.  The interview was shot by Alex Manning and edited by Hawk Jensen.

Judge Jim Gray is a spokesman for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) is the author of Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs.

Approximately 8.30 minutes.

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And come back to Reason.tv March 15 through March 19 for the debut of Reason Saves Cleveland With Drew Carey: How to fix the "Mistake on The Lake" and other once-great American cities, an original six-part documentary series.

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  1. Police have arrested a South Korean couple whose toddler starved to death while they were raising a virtual child online, authorities said

    http://dailycaller.com/#ixzz0hbz26chh

    1. That is the saddest thing, I hope they punish those mother F**kers.

    2. What the fuck does this have to do with the topic of this article? Quit trying to spam your blog.

  2. Off Topic, but I heard Obama say that the Senate passed a healthcare bill with a super majority. I have also heard Sabelius and others parrot that claim. When DID the senate pass a healthcare bill? I only recall them voting for cloture. If I am correct, aren’t Obama and Sabelius lying?

  3. I am soooo glad you put a reminder about the Drew Carey thing at the end, I like totally almost forgot.
    OMG! Cleveland rox!! 🙂 LOL!

    When is it again?

  4. When DID the senate pass a healthcare bill?

    December 24, 2009.

    aren’t Obama and Sabelius lying?

    Of course they are, just not about that.

  5. I voted for Gray for senate a few years back. He was even endorsed by the Long Beach Press Telegram.

  6. On Topic… I give this an A+. This guy is a great speaker.

    1. He’s a goddam hippie. No one wants to hear what a hippie has to say about pot.

      1. He’s just a pothead who only wants to legalize marijuana so he can smoke pot!!

        1. Is that really a bad thing?

        2. Sorry. That was just a joke, of course.

    2. A clean articulate fella. Not like that knob who was advocating the drug war that was on Stossel’s show the other night. What a boob.

      1. Yeah, I really liked this interview.

  7. This November’s vote in California to legalize will be interesting. I think once you get the first state, the rest will tumble.

    1. I sure hope it gets legalized, cause I know where I’ll move to,a place with an abundance of Asian women and where marijuana is legal, it sounds like my kind of place.

      1. You mean like china?

        1. The same China that has just executed a Japanese national for smuggling 2.5kg of drugs?

    2. I think you underestimate how hard the Feds will fight state legalization. They don’t want to give up an inch of the power over the states they’ve continuously gained over the years.

      1. I agree with your assessment, Epi, but, even if it is fought there is going to have to be some sort of debate about this in future elections. The drug war has crept along gaining momentum and inertia for too may years. There hasn’t been rational nation wide debates as the issue has been swept under the rug.

        Maybe a few million voters approving initiatives like these will get more than a derisive snort when changing drug policy is mentioned to politicians.

      2. Yeah, color me skeptical too. How much federal funding do you think the Feds will withhold if this goes through? With the states so desperate for money right now, there’s no way any of them will risk pissing off Uncle Sugar.

        1. And it’s not even real sugar these days.

        2. The California initiative is by popular vote which makes the whole thing much more interesting. If it passes, then to thwart it would effectively be a negation of the people’s will, which though doable could open up some seats in future elections. I mean, the people that vote for the initiative are going to be pissed if their local politicians cannot or will not enact the law they voted for.

          1. That happened in Arizona in the 90’s (maybe late 80’s). They put medicinal use on the ballot and it passed with a majority. The State lawmakers decided that the people weren’t smart enough to make decisions for themselves and over-rode the bill.

  8. How much federal funding do you think the Feds will withhold if this goes through?

    I had the same thought, but really, can any party afford to take the blame for bankrupting California? The first stimulus was first and foremost a bailout for state budgets, and Congress is looking for ways to supplement that right now.

    In some ways, it will be best if California is the first state to legalize, because it is, wait for it, Too Big To Fail.

  9. The judge makes a sane and eloquent argument.

    However, his list of six beneficiaries of the drug war does not explicitly mention the professional group that benefits the most: lawyers.

    – Prosecuting attorneys get cases that are easy to prove and plea bargain. Cop either buys or seizes the dope, which gives prima facie evidence of guilt.

    – Defense attorneys get a steady stream of clients for defense against charges, money laundering, etc.

    – Politicians – usually attorneys by profession – get their share of the graft.

    – Legal bureaucrats – usually attorneys – get job security in their filings for asset forfeiture, etc.

    – Judges get job security.

    Bottom line: his list of six beneficiaries could be collapsed to three: real criminals, lawyers and law enforcement.

    1. Seems like this list of beneficiaries could be condensed as well.

    2. For sure. Real criminals, lawyers and law enforcement.

      Criminals (unapproved by the state), Criminals (who assist the state), and
      Criminals (approved by the state).

  10. Go to Reason.tv for downloadable iPod, HD, and audio versions.

    What no transcript? This is the fucking internet.We want text!

  11. I have to agree. Some (not all) of the Hit&Run; videos are blocked where I work. What determines that is a mystery to me.

  12. Here is something else to consider. In Canada there is a pilot program in Vancouver where heroin addicts can get drugs and free needles. Free from the fear of arrest. The Purveyors of the program were astonished. The number of people who decided they had enough and wanted to get into treatment surprised everybody. (Google it).
    The lesson can be learned here too. Legalize drugs. All the hard drugs. Sure there will be a temporary upward bump in usage, but it will taper down as more people come forward to try and kick their addictions. It’s humane and safe and it’s so much better than watching people die like dogs in the streets.

  13. Here is something else to consider. In Canada there is a pilot program in Vancouver where heroin addicts can get drugs and free needles. Free from the fear of arrest. The Purveyors of the program were astonished. The number of people who decided they had enough and wanted to get into treatment surprised everybody. (Google it).
    The lesson can be learned here too. Legalize drugs. All the hard drugs. Sure there will be a temporary upward bump in usage, but it will taper down as more people come forward to try and kick their addictions. It’s humane and safe and it’s so much better than watching people die like dogs in the streets.

    1. Not exactly correct on the vancouver heroin outreach program. They DO NOT supply the drugs, only the equipment and tools they need, in a sterile environment, staffed by health care workers. Not one overdose death since its opening.

      Portugal decriminalized personal use/possession of all drugs, and they have NOT seen an increase in use, overdose deaths have declined, crime has declined, use has remained steady or declined.

      We can learn from Vancouver and Portugal.

  14. What he says at the end about looking back is what is keeping things from changing now. Not until all those worthless fucks that filled the country with their bullshit propaganda and are profiting off drugs being illegal die off. Face it a politicians NEVER admits they were wrong about anything. They certainly aren’t just going to say oops our bad sorry for locking people up for their lives and causing such calamity. I will shit a golden turd before you ever hear anyone admit they fucked up! So like good overlords they just perpetuate the issue as though they are winning and everything is under control. Oh it is under control alright! We can build a bigger better drug war come on folks and get behind government intrusion it’s all the rage!

  15. Outstanding! I love it!

  16. Wait a minute! This is sanity! Americans will never go for that!!!

  17. The drug war will not end through the political proccess. This guy is smarter than the average slob, but he is still just scratching the surface. The debates are owned, the parties are owned, YOU are owned. Lick my boots slaves! The country will go bankrupt first, that is the best that you can hope for.

  18. so he is a conservative libertarian? I however disagree in that by legalizing drugs will only encourage drug use. Increasing child abuse(something like 70% of children abused are abused by adults who are high or stoned) so there are victims, there are also victims in increased car wrecks.
    people are also much more likly to have dangerouse/unportected sex while drunk or high, making more babies and spreading STDs more.
    There is also the view that why are these people not just binge drinking alcohol? Id tend to think the reason is disordered persons who should be the LAST people who should drive or make babies.
    Children of alcoholics and drug addicts have a 95% likelihood of themselves becoming an addict.

    the mans over all criticism of the way we wage the drug war is true, education should be stressed and less dont on the
    but the problem with Education is that schools would actually have to teach something with meaning aside from mass memorization. In college the only thing that teachers DARE promote is Gay rights.

  19. so he is a conservative libertarian? I however disagree in that by legalizing drugs will only encourage drug use. Increasing child abuse(something like 70% of children abused are abused by adults who are high or stoned) so there are victims, there are also victims in increased car wrecks.
    people are also much more likly to have dangerouse/unportected sex while drunk or high, making more babies and spreading STDs more.
    There is also the view that why are these people not just binge drinking alcohol? Id tend to think the reason is disordered persons who should be the LAST people who should drive or make babies.
    Children of alcoholics and drug addicts have a 95% likelihood of themselves becoming an addict.

    the mans over all criticism of the way we wage the drug war is true, education should be stressed and less dont on the
    but the problem with Education is that schools would actually have to teach something with meaning aside from mass memorization. In college the only thing that teachers DARE promote is Gay rights.

  20. so he is a conservative libertarian? I however disagree in that by legalizing drugs will only encourage drug use. Increasing child abuse(something like 70% of children abused are abused by adults who are high or stoned) so there are victims, there are also victims in increased car wrecks.
    people are also much more likly to have dangerouse/unportected sex while drunk or high, making more babies and spreading STDs more.
    There is also the view that why are these people not just binge drinking alcohol? Id tend to think the reason is disordered persons who should be the LAST people who should drive or make babies.
    Children of alcoholics and drug addicts have a 95% likelihood of themselves becoming an addict.

    the mans over all criticism of the way we wage the drug war is true, education should be stressed and less dont on the
    but the problem with Education is that schools would actually have to teach something with meaning aside from mass memorization. In college the only thing that teachers DARE promote is Gay rights.

  21. Just going to snort some Charley.

  22. Judge Gray is an excellent speaker with excellent points. You have my full support and I hope you are successful.

  23. Fred, I would like to know how many people you know who abuse there children while under the influence of marijuana. With Alcohol I can see this happening. But most people know that the effects of marijuana do not increase anger or violence. In fact, it does the complete opposite. Keeping marijuana illegal is a joke. Let’s legalize it and help bring California’s economy moving forward again.

  24. I like that saying, thanks!
    Thanks for posting this. Very nice recap of some of the key points in my talk. I hope you and your readers find it useful! Thanks again

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