End­ing war on drugs will solve Bal­ti­more’s crime prob­lem

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - NEWS -

Your ed­i­to­rial (“Gun buy­backs not ef­fec­tive in curb­ing shoot­ings,” Dec. 20) was de­tailed and co­gent in its dis­cus­sion of the fail­ure of gun buy­back pro­grams. These pro­grams, as you fi­nally state, have never been suc­cess­ful in re­duc­ing vi­o­lent crime rates and are ba­si­cally politi­cians us­ing tax money to ap­pear to do some­thing, even if it is in­ef­fec­tive.

But you failed to dis­cuss the fact that Bal­ti­more has had over 300 mur­ders (again) this year and that there is an ob­vi­ous change in pol­icy that has the po­ten­tial to sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce mur­ders and other vi­o­lent crimes: end the war on drugs. This “war” has been a dis­as­trous fail­ure for al­most 50 years and has cost over $1 tril­lion. Mary­land has made some mi­nor steps in the cor­rect di­rec­tion by de­crim­i­nal­iz­ing mar­i­juana and le­gal­iz­ing it in some re­spects; other states have done more.

We need to con­sider the le­gal­iza­tion (or de­crim­i­nal­iza­tion) of all drugs, thereby elim­i­nat­ing most of the fi­nan­cial re­wards ob­tained by those in the il­le­gal drug trade and re­duc­ing the use of vi­o­lence to set­tle dis­agree­ments.

Keep up the work to iden­tify ridicu­lous gov­ern­ment pro­grams. On this is­sue, just go fur­ther in con­sid­er­ing real so­lu­tions to our so­ci­ety’s vi­o­lence prob­lems.

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