Webb Gets Notice For Promoting Drug Decriminalization Debate


When a law-and-order type as rock-ribbed as U.S. Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) expresses willingness to consider legalizing or decriminalizing drugs, excitement follows, says the Washington Post in a feature on Webb’s proposal to create a national criminal justice commission. Ceding control of how he or his ideas will be interpreted clearly makes Webb uncomfortable, the Post says. “He’s clearly not a liberal wimp,” said Pat Nolan of Prison Fellowship Ministries, founded by Charles Colson. “That’s what works about this politically. He’s not doing this because he bleeds for prisoners.”

It is proposed commission duty No. 6 that keeps drawing attention, making Webb’s proposal an eye-catcher in the sea of congressional proposals that might or might not go all the way: “Restructure the approach to criminalization of, and incarceration as the result of, the possession or use of illegal drugs, decreasing the demand for illicit drugs, and improving the treatment for addiction.” Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, better known by the acronym LEAP — a group of current and former law enforcement officers — is running a petition on its Internet site in support of Webb’s commission. LEAP’s Norman Stamper, a former chief of police in Seattle, praises Webb as “a tough guy” and says “the hope is that an honest, very critical examination of drug laws will lead to the conclusion that prohibition doesn’t work.”

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