Pete Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg Says We Should Decriminalize All the Drugs

“Incarceration should not even be a response to drug possession.”

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Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Democratic presidential candidate, told a newspaper editorial board that he doesn't want to put people in jail for possessing or using drugs—not even meth, cocaine, and ecstasy.

Buttigieg's statements to the Des Moines Register's in a meeting right before Christmas is garnering him some new national attention for his blunt declaration that America should not imprison drug users.

His comments start at about 55:15 minutes into this hour-long interview below:

For those who prefer to read (the context is a discussion about what he's learned about leadership from being a mayor):

I would not have said even five years ago what I believe now, which is that incarceration should not even be a response to drug possession.

But what I've seen is—while there continue to be all kinds of harms associated with drug possession and use—it's also the case that we have created, in an effort to deal with what amounts to a public health problem, we have created a bigger problem, a justice problem, and its own form of a health problem, if you think about the impact on a child.

We have kids in South Bend who have grown up with the incarceration of a parent as one of their first experiences. That makes them dramatically more likely to have an encounter with the criminal legal system.

And so I've always been skeptical of mass incarceration but now I believe more than ever we need to take really significant steps, like ending incarceration as a response to simple possession.

Buttigieg is asked whether he means not just drugs like marijuana, but also meth, cocaine, and ecstasy, and he makes it clear that he does not want to imprison anybody for simply using or possessing any illegal drug.

In the interview, Buttigieg talks about seeing the consequences of prohibition in South Bend, where he's encountered teens made ill by consuming synthetic, black market marijuana, which he referred to as "rat poison sprayed on grass."

"You're much better off with real marijuana than this stuff," Buttigieg said.

To be clear, Buttigieg is not calling for the legalization of all drugs, though he supports marijuana legalization. His preference is for drug diversion in the criminal justice system, such as drug courts. Yet programs that "divert" defendants away from incarceration and into rehabilitation and supervised release can frequently have problems of their own. Many operate by bleeding money from participants, who are threatened with incarceration for noncompliance. Of course, Buttigieg calls for a significant amount of federal spending to help counties and cities operate these programs.

Buttigieg first mentioned drug decriminalization in his "Plan to Improve Mental Health Care and Combat Addiction," which he unveiled in August. That plan also calls for easier access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone and financial and political support for local needle exchange programs to prevent the spread of disease. That these positions are suddenly driving media coverage reflect his rising poll numbers in Iowa.

"The idea that you can criminalize addiction or the idea that incarceration is the right way to handle possession—I think has been disproven by American experience over the course of my lifetime," he observes, something opponents of the drug war have pointed out time and time again.

NEXT: Oren Levy Finally Has His Hemp Back, but the NYPD Nearly Killed His CBD Business

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  1. If he’s elected he could just pack the court to get the precedents he wants and then force drug users into mandatory national service.

    1. Any crime should be punished to the full extent of the law, but he is certainly right that more resources should be directed away from relatively minor forms of delinquency, into serious issues like Internet crime–including above all the sort of illegal “parody” that ended up consuming nine years of our time here at NYU because law enforcement authorities were not entirely prepared to handle the “First Amendment” nonsense that came from the defense lawyers. We will continue to do our best here to assist with the fight against any sort of dangerous activity that impinges on the reputations of our faculty members and administrators, but clearly resources are lacking where they are needed most. See the documentation of our nation’s leading criminal “satire” case at:

      https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

      1. Any crime should be punished to the full extent of the law,

        but he is certainly right that more resources should be directed away from relatively minor forms of delinquency,

        Those two statements contradict each other.

        How do you expect to get support for this stupid crusade you’ve been on for a fucking decade now if you’re putting out low-effort spam like this?

        1. Aaaand, according to you, right here, your boy got exactly what he had coming – full extent of the law.

        2. Quite to the contrary, the statements do not contradict each other, as this is a matter of the difficult allocation of resources. Sometimes certain sacrifices have to be made so that we can focus on what matters most, which was exactly my point, and quite clearly stated, I might add. We have some excellent seminars on resource management here at NYU, anyone interested in these delicate questions may wish to consider enrolling for a semester.

          1. And no, the marauder who assaulted our reputations with illegal “parodies” unfortunately was not sufficiently punished, due to an outrageous decision of a single, isolated, so-called “judge” that really flew quite in the face of the law. Our committees will be sure to work harder next time, should there ever be a next time, to close those loopholes and secure appropriate results.

    2. Decriminalization of all drugs would be the best solution… better than legalization… does the same things, treats drug abuse as a health problem not a criminal action, allows people to do what they want with their own bodies and the “black market” for drugs, with its crimes, thugs, etc., eventually disappears when prices go down and no need for pushers. Only difference really, legalization leaves the State in place to tax and regulate. Decrim doesn’t!

      Unfortunately, Pete doesn’t want the state totally out of the picture, but he’s close.

      1. You have it backwards. “Legalize” means “make legal”, i.e. not illegal. “Decriminalize” means “make not a crime”, but not necessarily legal. If possession’s decriminalized but not legalized, you don’t go to jail but you don’t get to keep your drugs, and you may be fined or penalized in other ways.

        1. ” you may be fined or penalized in other ways.”

          So, still a crime. Just no incarceration.

          Part of the confusion stems from the headline, the author, and Buttigieg, who are all being grossly dishonest about what is being advocated.

          It’s not decriminalization, it is merely changing the punishment to something less punitive and more coercive.

  2. So leave it illegal, but do not incarcerate?
    Absolutely no chance for abuses there, is there?
    He is saying the bullshit going on in states that have legalized marijuana, where possession may or may not lead to arrest by maybe the locals, maybe the state, maybe the feds, is a great idea, and a masterful use of tax money? Oh, hell yeah, I’ll vote for him.
    Either legalize or shut up. There is no middle ground. Get over it.

    1. His preference is for drug diversion in the criminal justice system, such as drug courts.

      Yes, he believes in incarceration. He just gussies it up as jail for refusing treatment instead of jail for using drugs.

      No difference, just more bureaucracy.

      1. It is nothing but a payoff to social workers and other Democratic constituencies. The worst part is that rehab can in some ways be worse than jail if you are not an addict. Jail is a nightmare but at least it doesn’t try and brainwash you. Going to rehab and these sorts of programs if you are not an addict and just a recreational drug user who got caught is downright Orwellian. I have known people who were not addicts but got forced into rehab by their parents or the law and their stories are all nightmares.

        1. I agree with you for the most part, but both halves of Uniparty foot ample blame for the travesty of the Drug War. Historians will look back on the Drug War as one of the greatest bipartisan ‘successes’ of the modern era. Even predominately Republican areas like North Georgia, where I live, exploit the ‘drug court’ racket for all it’s worth!

          My sister was forced into ‘drug court’ for simple possession 3 times (Cannabis once, and prescribed Xanax, twice) before ultimately dying of an OD of Rx drugs. The state’s interference only made things worse and trust me, it’s not just the addict who pays through the nose – our family paid with time and money we did not have. Worse still, by allowing the addict to live with you, you forfeit YOUR 4th Amendment rights and are subject to random home and vehicle searches. I called the ‘limited government conservatives’ down at the courthouse and politely asked how this was in any way Constitutional. They hung up on me!

          We could have marshalled our resources in a way more suited to help my sister, but the state always knows best and so saw fit to rob us of that option.

      2. A kinder gentler boot to your face.

      3. Yes, he believes in incarceration. He just gussies it up as jail for refusing treatment instead of jail

        Where are you getting that? It’s not what he said. He clearly said he wants incarceration off the table as a response.

    2. This is the big joke that reason falls for.

      Democrats still dont want to 100% legalize drugs like popsicles. Lefties simply want to deregulate drugs in order to buy votes because to repeal the Controlled Substances Act would reduce the Police and Nanny State.

      Democrats dont want to reduce the state.

      1. Neither do republicans, so let’s cut the bullshit.

        One party masquerading as two, and neither side of the coin looking out for regular folks.

      2. Meanwhile Republicans don’t even want to give up on locking up people for pot.

        Yeah, it sucks Democrats don’t go far enough, but the party that has your blind allegiance is still committed to the Police State 100x as hard.

    3. Part of the problem is that there are drugs that are both legal and illegal at the same time. A friend lives in a state where marijuana is completely legal, but he tested positive for it, was fired, and found that the insurance company that the company uses only recognizes the fact that marijuana is a Schedule 1 at the federal level, so told the company to either fire all employees that use it, or find another insurance carrier. The legal status of drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, as well as all pharmaceuticals, should either be entirely at the federal level, or entirely in the hands of the states. This dual-legality is causing a lot of problems.

  3. Perhaps some sort of penaltax?

    1. just another backdoor bureaucracy

  4. Buttigieg finally came up with a half-decent idea.

    Then again, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

    1. Forcing people into rehab is not a good idea. And it certainly isn’t decriminalizing anything. It is just changing the punishment.

      1. ^This.

        Fuck off slaver Pete

    2. A stopped clock is never right.

      1. So if my clock stops at 10:15, it will never be 10:15 again? All the rest of the clocks in the world will just jump from 10:14 to 10:16? Cool! We can make time disappear! I think you’ve discovered an entirely new physics!

        Or no, maybe you’re just wrong.

  5. There are two problems with these diversion programs. First, the people who most need the help they provide are generally too big of screwups to make it through the program. Those who do make it through such programs, likely were not addicts to begin with. So, they really don’t help many people. They do however, end up being a revolving door between failed rehab and jail for those the programs are supposed to be helping.

    1. Though the added state control is a nice perk, it really is ALL about the money. These ‘drug courts’ add millions to the state coffers, year in and year out.

  6. I suspected that he would actually be advocating compulsory treatment, not the policy Reason is promoting.

    And I guess my guess was right:

    “His preference is for drug diversion in the criminal justice system, such as drug courts. Yet programs that “divert” defendants away from incarceration and into rehabilitation and supervised release can frequently have problems of their own. Many operate by bleeding money from participants, who are threatened with incarceration for noncompliance. Of course, Buttigieg calls for a significant amount of federal spending to help counties and cities operate these programs.”

    As John says, this replaces imprisonment for possession with imprisonment for refusing treatment. Isn’t this the model many communities are already using?

    1. yeah “forced into rehab” is not “decriminalization”. What a misleading headline, Reason.

      1. “What a misleading headline, Reason.”

        Just another in a long string. This place truly has gone to shit.

  7. …and I suspect some people abuse drugs because of bad philosophy and weakness, not “sickness” unless you’re going to expand the definition of sickness to take in the vast majority of Americans…

    …wait…

    1. To clarify: If a bad philosophy of life plus weakness made you sick, you’d have a majority of sick people in the U. S., whether they’re “addicts” or not.

      1. People abuse drugs for the same reason they engage in other self destructive and irresponsible activities; they are self destructive and irresponsible people. The reasons for them being so vary from person to person. But the drugs are just the expression of the underlying behavioral issue.

        The whole “I have a sickness” line of thinking is just bullshit put out by the rehab industry and nothing but a rationalization for selfish and irresponsible behavior.

      2. These people read Orwell as a how to guide.

  8. “Pusher Pete wants to legalize all drugs” – Trump, ending any chance of a Bootyguy presidency with one nickname

    1. The genius is in the simplicity.

    2. Trump wanted to legalize all drugs at one point too, something to the effect of the drug war is a joke and “You have to legalize drugs to win that war.” But of course then the dementia set in…

  9. I thought the proper libertarian response was “Yes, the government should not have a say in what I put into my body”. If that leads to crime, there are laws against crime. Which should be punished in the justice system. Offer rehabilitation of crimes associated with drug abuse instead of jail. X amount of times.

    1. Lol.
      That is too reasonable for US policy. And it does not waste money, or hurt minority communities, nor erode our civil rights. We must stay the course.

    2. Try to come up with a nice catchy slogan for that – maybe “my body, my choice”?

  10. I have no problem with that under two conditions:
    1. crimes committed under the influence of drugs are not excused because of “diminished capacity” and
    2. personal consequences of taking drugs are not ameliorated by “humanitarian” social policies.

    1. “2. personal consequences of taking drugs are not ameliorated by “humanitarian” social policies.”

      I have nor problem with ‘policy’ it’s the enforced extraction of wealth to fund such policies that is wrong. As is the forcible imposition of such ‘policy’ upon otherwise unwilling drug users.

      Butt’s proposals are nothing if not textbook smiley faced fascism.

    2. “2. personal consequences of taking drugs are not ameliorated by “humanitarian” social policies.”

      That’s already happening to the tune of billions per year. What you think 90% of all money spent on the homeless “problem” is about? They’re all on drugs it’s not a big mystery.

      1. Drugs are an issue there, as is mental illness, but many are just misfits/assholes. Not to say that I disagree. If those services were to dry up many would find they lack the funds to purchase their dope.

        1. Ding ding ding.

        2. “misfits/assholes”?

          You misspelled “victims”. How dare you!

          Haha.

    3. and 3. I am allowed to cap, with impunity, a drug addict committing a crime against me to fuel their habit.

      But in our upside-down society, we tend to turn victims into criminals and criminals into victims, an approach I am sure Petey endorses.

  11. Notgonnabepresidentanyway.

    1. +10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

  12. It is amusing that so many commentators are ragging on the downsides of decriminalization while ignoring that the current approach is far worse and objectively horrible.

    1. No, what is amusing is that you seem to not understand that forced rehab is not decriminalization. It is just locking people up in rehab rather than jail. Decriminalization means just that, it is no longer a crime. It doesn’t mean, it is still a crime and you get locked in a rehab center until you promise to do better.

      And no, it is not preferable. It is in many ways worse.

      1. John wants you to vote GOP, Molly. They’re waaaay better on drug policy since they’ll just put you in a pound-you-in-the-arse federal penitentiary for growing the devil’s weed where you can be initiated into the ways of

        1. …butt sex and Libertarianism. Fuck these drug and mental health counselors. Libertarians should be for prisons. Right, John?

          1. Hi Molly.

        2. Shut up Shreek. Your sock puppets fool no one. You have nothing to add and everyone on this board hates your guts.

    2. Maybe that’s because we’ve seen so many things legalized under the mantra of “nobody’s business but my own” metastasize into “human rights” that then require taxpayer subsidies, anti discrimination laws and compulsive “celebrations” in order to demonstrate “tolerance”.

      Sorry, but even as a guy who loves him some drugs, I’m not buying that song and dance again.

      I agree, your drug use is nobody’s business but your own. And in the interest of making sure it stays your business, let’s keep ‘em illegal!

      1. She seems to think that drugs are no one’s business but your own but also think it is totally okay for the state to force you to go to treatment to be brainwashed into stop using them.

        That is not how this works.

      2. Just when I thought I’d seen every bad argument in favor of maintaining Prohibition…

        So, you’d be cool with being forced into a program (which, BTW, violates the fundamental tenet of self-motivated change espoused in 12-step programs) or going to jail for ‘minding your own business?’

        I understand the state doesn’t like relinquishing power or money, but re-legalization doesn’t necessitate any of those things you fear. It simply requires the state pissing off. Besides, criminalizing non-violent, non-thieving behavior automatically makes it someone else’s (i.e., the government’s) business, so your argument doesn’t make sense.

      3. Decriminalization worked amazingly well in Portugal – drug use dropped considerably, actual crimes fell – it’s a win-win for everyone.

        Well, everyone but the authoritarians, who think they should have remained illegal.

    3. “It is amusing that so many commentators are ragging on the downsides of decriminalization”

      So many? Huh?

      1. “I don’t have actual answers for their concerns, so I’ll just dismiss them as ‘amusing.”

    4. I have to agree. It is hard to believe that a libertarian site would have so many people thinking the current approach to drugs is better than decriminalization. Yes there are problems with supervision and rehab, but at least its a start. It has to be better than locking people up.

      1. Name and quote these people.

      2. “the current approach to drugs is better than decriminalization. ”

        Yes, that is exactly what people have argued. You are as brilliant as you are observant. We should all listen to people like you.

      3. Supervision and rehab *is* locking people up.

        1. I disagree. Under supervision a person can still be with their family, can still be in their community, and can still hold a job. You cannot do that from a jail cell. It is also likely to be cheaper for all of us. What we have to come to grips with is who is paying for the supervision. What the article has correct is we can not take a person of limited economic means and charge them for drug testing and supervision.

      4. Because this is a site whose comment section is made up of libertarian leaning far right Republicans, not libertarians. The Republican Party supports drug war maximalism, and since the Democrats plan isn’t absolutely 100% legalization, well might as well just criticize it and keep supporting team (R).

    5. Decriminalization is the current system – but worse. You think its bad now, at least now if you get thrown in jail you’ll have a calendar date set for when you can get out.

      Once you’re in the ‘treatment’ track then you get out when the doctor says you get out.

      1. While jail provides a release date there is no guarantee you are any better on release then you were on uptake. And for many release will include requirements for treatment so why add the jail time?

  13. To be clear, Buttigieg is not calling for the legalization of all drugs, though he supports marijuana legalization.

    To be even more clear, Buttigieg does not actually support marijuana legalization.

  14. Maybe gays could be forced into don’t-be-gay-therapy instead of being imprisoned (unless they resist the therapy of course).

    /sarc /sarc /sarc

  15. If Mayor Butthead had any balls, he would actually mean it = decriminalize all drugs. But he doesn’t. Instead, he does the half-hearted thing saying weed should be legal. And there he draws the line.

    At least Tulsi the Team D Front Runner Slayer is willing to go further and argue it is a matter of personal choice, and personal accountability. That is something that actually makes rational and logical sense to me. Alas, logic and reason left Team D a while ago.

    1. It’s a winning strategy. See: “I didn’t inhale”.

      “I was spineless enough to give in to peer pressure, and clever enough to deceive my peers. Make me president.”

      Haha.

  16. Come on guys… we all know that voting for some Bible-beater who will put you in jail for a decade for growing the devil’s weed is more preferable than any Democrat. How dumb does Buttbutt think we are, anyway?

    1. Dumb enough to think we’ll swallow his attempts to forcibly pack the courts.

  17. He’s at least partially right. Criminalizing possession or use is stupid, and a financial disaster for most communities. Illegal drugs bring with it it’s own criminal contingent, but so does use for addicts.

    I know some areas of the world that have decriminalized… why can’t we remove politics, emotion, and rationally figure out what works best? We seem as a nation to behave all to often like 5 year olds when we discover a problem. Opioids are a great example. 99% of opioid prescription patients take their meds, don’t abuse, ever.

    But now doctors are forced into treating chronic pain patients like criminals. All of them. Seeing my loved one struggle with a new kind of shame due to stupid childish government is disgusting in this supposed age of intelligence and understanding.

    We incarcerate more as a % than nearly any country on earth. What we’re doing simply isn’t working. Oh, and 40%+ of federal prisoners are illegals. Yeah, we do need to seal our border and strengthen our immigration system. It all connects.

  18. Personally, if someone wants to blow up their veins or their nose with these poisons, have at it. Just don’t expect me to clean up your mess or take care of you. Problem is, hard drug use affects way more than the user. And who does Buttigieg think is going to produce meth/cocaine/heroin/etc if the US legalizes it? Still going to be the same violent criminal cartels south of the border. Unless you’re going to get Big Pharma to start mass producing these substances?

    1. Unless you’re going to get Big Pharma to start mass producing these substances?

      Why wouldn’t they? Did you know that heroin was invented and first brought to market by Bayer? Do you think they get the opium needed to produce Oxycontin and fentanyl from street gangs?

      1. “Why wouldn’t they?”

        Legions of plaintiff’s attorneys waiting in the wings.

        For starters.

    2. I’d expect big pharma to get into the game, or they’d lose business to upstart domestic manufacturers.

      I’m sure the shitty Mexican weed still exists somewhere in Colorado, but the vast majority of the weed business is done legally. Even the black market stuff seems to be coming from legit, US-based growers who decide they can make more money by not paying taxes.

      The cartels exist because they’re willing to be violent where legitimate businessmen aren’t. Take away the incentive for violence and I’d expect you’ll find they can’t compete. Pfizer would absolutely eat their lunch if they decided they wanted to.

      1. Exactly. Alcohol has been legal for 86 years and there still haven’t been any drive by shootings between Coors and Budweiser.

        1. If other drugs were held to the same sort of product liability standards as alcohol then yes, plenty of reputable companies would get in on manufacturing and distribution once they were legalized. But I just don’t see that happening.

          A lot of people consume alcohol and a) do not see/experience much personal danger from that and b) would tend to view personally injury lawsuits as a threat to production of a desired product. Combined with a long history of personal use before the rise of such suits, it’s largely a non-starter.

          Legalized coke, meth, opiates, etc, would be a whole new ballgame. One where most potential jurors were not users, so would reflexively and historically hold standards more applicable to prescription drug products, while also not seeing punitive awards as threatening any product they themselves intended to consume. The perceived inherent danger of the product, even when used as intended, is just that much greater than ethanol.

      2. In California, a large majority of pot sales are still black market. It’s not enough to just legalize, you have to legalize *right*… CA made the taxes so insanely high legal shops can’t undercut illegal sellers, and letting local governments ban shops either outright or effectively ban them with zoning made sure large swaths of the state has no legal option anywhere near them.

        1. Hold on, you’re saying California did something and f***ed it up?

          Damn, I have to sit down for a while and process that.

          (Note: max sarcasm has been achieved with this posting.)

      3. For some of these cartel types, violence is its own incentive. When you’re talking billions of dollars and competition (which would still exist in the event of complete legalization), violence will continue as parties compete for control.

        1. Yeah, Coors and Budweiser are killing each other’s people in the streets!

          Oh, wait…

      4. You will not find a single American pharmaceutical company who will decide to produce methamphetamine, heroin or cocaine, no matter how much money is in it.

        1. Some men see things as they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not.

  19. Decriminalization is a significant improvement over the current situation, and welcome on that basis.
    But so much of the harm of prohibition comes from the harm creation of a black market imposes: harm from empowering local and international drug dealers to a fantastic extent, not just the violence, but also vast corruption hidden from view; harm to users who still have to commit vast numbers of crimes, some of which turn into murders, if they are to feed their addiction at black market prices; and harm, including trauma, to the victims of those vast numbers of crimes, and of course to their loved ones and friends too.

    I’m not that interested in arguing about whether there is a right to use hard drugs or not. I consider the policy of trying to enforce prohibition of their use as having had such catastrophic consequences ( I’ve only mentioned the worst) that any practical minded person should support experiments with a new approach that allows their use under some circumstances, most importantly by addicts resistant to any other approach.

  20. Spoken like someone who has never dealt with the issue up close. I’m with him if we’re just talking weed but when we’re talking serious stuff the society will pay a big, negative, price for letting it slide. Meth and heroin especially. Plus, where your really out there there is significant other crime tied directly to highly addictive drugs.

    1. Meth and heroin are so terrible and deadly BECAUSE they are illegal. If they were fully legalized, you could sue the suppliers if your product killed a family member. There wouldn’t be any gangs full of thugs running meth or heroin rings, just multinational corporations with lots of lawyers. And if people got addicted they could seek help without fear of legal repercussions or jail time.

      1. Most overdoses are accidental because the quality control of illegal products is mostly nonexistent.

    2. Portugal didn’t.

  21. Pete Butt-Poker is a racist.
    It doesn’t get much more racist then accusing Trump of “white-identity-politics” while simultaneously lobbying for $35B ( As in Billion) for Black Businesses & Colleges.

    Getting the Federal Government out of “substance” dictation would be a good thing though — so long as it’s not marked by some imaginary “Constitutional” right ( which is usually the only time I hear any lefty use the term) to dictate local government on the matter.

  22. Eh.

    I mean, yeah. I agree with this. But the dude (and all the others) are so full of horrible, horrible ideas that, honestly, I’d rather keep the status quo if the price of ending the drug war is the destruction of my part of the country (I don’t care about the rest of you;))

    1. Good news – drugs don’t destroy any of a country – Prohibition of drugs destroys countries.

      Portugal figured it out. . . why can’t we?

      1. We can! – By electing the likes of Rand Paul NOT by racist Pete Butt-Poker who has one single ‘limited’ government principle and a whole ledger of ‘over-growing’ government policies.

        1. I knew that someone had the answer – I just wanted to see if the guy to whom I responded had a clue.

          Apparently not.

  23. A lot of people see drug use only as abuse, and do not realize that many can use certain drugs for enjoyment and not abuse them. It is much like tobacco and alcohol. I can enjoy an occasional cigar without getting ‘hooked’ on nicotine, and I can enjoy a glass of wine or whiskey without getting drunk or becoming an alcoholic. I’ve done both for nearly 60 years, have not had problems with either, and am in good health. Anything that grows out of the ground and is not processed in a laboratory should be legal for adults in the country. This would make marijuana, cocaine, and tobacco legal, and maybe make high-fructose corn syrup illegal along with pharmaceuticals, heroin, meth, and crack. The biggest reason these changes may not happen is money. Profit is king in the U.S., and all of the actions taken by Congress shows that.

    1. heroin grows out of the ground just like cocaine does

    2. Alcohol is processed, not merely extracted from extant plants.

      WTF difference does it make whether one uses materials that are produced using technology?

  24. So basically, the “Swedish model” of drugs (except the seller instead of the buyer being the “villiain” this time around).

    The state will still crack down harshly on the dealers, with the narrative that the buyer was the “victim” rather than a concenting adult making a rational decison.

  25. So he’s not all bad… sad when their best candidate is the mayor of a small Indiana town.

    1. You don’t seriously believe he has the clout and ability to actually push through decriminalization.

      Right now, he’s just saying whatever he can to stand out.

      1. Call one of the Republican politicians whose nuts you caress with your tongue and ask them to please get on board. They seem to be movable on this issue.

        Or you can just sit there and bitch until the end of time.

        1. Calling Republicans won’t do any good. Democrats will not go for legalization because most of their major donors oppose it: public sector unions, lawyers, big pharma, doctors, nonprofits, …

          Just like Obama and Clinton, Buttigieg has a public story and a private policy. And people like you believe the b.s. of “the Republicans made me do it”.

          1. Republicans control the executive and half of the legislative branch, and the Democratic House is hardly a conservative body. Take some goddamn responsibility for once.

            1. Right back at you – “The House is blocking the District of Columbia from permitting sales of recreational pot, even after its voters chose to legalize.”

              https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-marijuana-20180608-story.html

  26. Addiction is a disease. Thus, a drug addict is no more a criminal than a person diagnosed with lymphoma, bi-polar disorder, etc, etc. The prison industrial complex is what drives the lawmakers to criminalize addiction. The endless expenditure of tax revenue to incarcerate addicts generates large profits for those vested in the complex and does absolutely nothing to combat the disease. In fact, just the opposite. It perpetuates it. A cycle of insanity!

    1. “coughcough*

      “What’s wrong?”

      “I caught that damn addiction again.”

      Yup. . . it’s a disease. . . if you’re a fucking lop.

      1. Do you always spout off your ignorance in public forums?

        1. Do you always call sucking dick for rock a disease like a moron?

        2. Not even once.

          Projection is no virtue – please stop.

    2. So, how much money will all levels of government get when drugs a legalized and they get their cut?

    3. “Addiction is a disease.”

      Fuck you bitch, it’s a behavioral maladaptation not a disease. Shut up with that stupidity.

    4. Addiction is a disease. Thus, a drug addict is no more a criminal than a person diagnosed with lymphoma, bi-polar disorder, etc, etc

      A lymphoma or bi-polar disorder happen to you purely by chance with no moral responsibility on your part. Drug addiction, on the other hand, requires a conscious choice to start taking addictive drugs; hence the drug addict is responsible for their addiction.

      The endless expenditure of tax revenue to incarcerate addicts generates large profits for those vested in the complex and does absolutely nothing to combat the disease

      Drug addicts are usually put into treatment already; it’s when drug addicts commit other crimes to finance their addiction that they go to prison.

  27. I was visiting with a gentleman from Colorado Springs. He was mentioning how Denver has further gone down the tubes since marijuana has been legalized in Colorado.
    The tax on the legal weed is so high that there is a major underground illegal market. He mentioned that there is a growing young people homeless problem because the 20 somethings come looking for work and can’t find any. They just want their high, getting a real job, even if they could, vanishes from their plans when they can just relax and get high.
    Oh, and since the welfare system is so generous, they can live off the working man’s taxes.

    1. In 2009 walking from my office to the light rail I got panhandled once a week. In 2019 it is like running a gauntlet of the walking dead.

      This is a Denver government problem which they refuse to acknowledge or deal with in any meaningful way.

  28. Decriminalization of all drugs would be the best solution… better than legalization… does the same things, treats drug abuse as a health problem not a criminal action, allows people to do what they want with their own bodies and the “black market” for drugs, with its crimes, thugs, etc., eventually disappears when prices go down and no need for pushers. Only difference really, legalization leaves the State in place to tax and regulate. Decrim doesn’t!

    Unfortunately, Pete doesn’t want the state totally out of the picture, but he’s close.

  29. Buttigieg, like Obama, will say whatever it takes to get elected; once in office, he would do whatever the unions, donors, and bureaucrats demand because, when all is said and done, he is inexperienced and does whatever the his “experts” tell him to do.

  30. “Of course, Buttigieg calls for a significant amount of federal spending to help counties and cities operate these programs.”

    More federal spending is okay guys! As long as he’s spending it on dank weed mirite? Things like this are why I’ll never be a card carrying libertarian. The party makes this big song and dance about liberty and fiscal responsibility but really, you know that deep down, most of their voters just want to smoke a joint and don’t really give two shits about the rest of that stuff and would be more than happy for Uncle Sam to buy it for them. It’s the same old “gimme dat” politics except instead of one favored free thing it’s another.

    1. Actually it wouldn’t be so bad as long as the almighty ‘federal’ wasn’t operating like a tyrannical ‘king’ on any and all Unconstitutional subjects. There’s a reason the enumerated powers limited the federal government on its Supremacy clause.

      Notice ‘federal spending’ <<<< Federal was never granted the power for any charity systems.

      1. As soooooooo many Americans have forgotten… The federal government isn’t the Union of People — Its the Union of States.

  31. once in office, he would do whatever the unions,donors,!

  32. Why do I think the Electoral College is going to cover enough Americans who think that a fat, orange-faced buffoon traitor is preferable to a guy who talks in coherent sentences like a fag?

    1. Yeah, why would people vote for the politically moderate inarticulate slob over the slick socialist blowhard? Maybe because they don’t want this country to turn into Venezuela?

      1. Trump is a right-wing fascist and Mayor Butt is a squishy pragmatist who lives in a world where facts matter. You are a tedious Breitbart carbuncle.

        1. To socialists, everybody who doesn’t toe the socialist party line is a “right-wing fascist”.

          1. What’s humorous is their ability to disconnect socialism from fascism when fascism is but a sector of socialism.

            Here’s a Hint — NAZI is an acronym for National Socialism.

            1. It’s all about labels and branding with socialists. In the end, no matter the label, they all end up as murderous thugs. Tony would sign up with Roehm tomorrow if he could.

  33. A dis-appointing headline to this article; bordering on click-bait.
    The man certainly isn’t advocating legalizing all drugs. Maybe there’s a fine line between “de-criminalizing” and “legalizing,” but, even then, he’s only talking about possession and use of marijuana, certainly not the distribution of crack, heroin, or fentanyl.
    Please strive to retain Reason’s credibility. Stick to facts.

    1. Yes, that is the common meaning of “decriminalize”—don’t legalize it, but stop putting people in prison for possession or use.

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