Ex-Baltimore Cops Seek Drug Legalization


Two former Baltimore police officers are calling for drug legalization. Neill Franklin and Peter Moskos, now a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, write in the Washington Post that, “only after years of witnessing the ineffectiveness of drug policies — and the disproportionate impact the drug war has on young black men — have we and other police officers begun to question the system.” Franklin and Moskos say that too many officers are wounded fighting the war on drugs. “The prohibition on drugs leads to unregulated, and often violent, public drug dealing,” Franklin and Moskos say. “Perhaps counterintuitively, better police training and bigger guns are not the answer.”

For low-level drug dealers, working the street means more money and fewer economic risks. Whent the police come, “some young kid will be left holding the bag while the dealer walks around the block.” The authors contend that, “regulated alcohol doesn’t work perfectly, but it works well enough. Prescription drugs are regulated, and while there is a huge problem with abuse, at least a system of distribution involving doctors and pharmacists works without violence and high-volume incarceration. Regulating drugs would work similarly: not a cure-all, but a vast improvement on the status quo.”

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