This new report from one of our allies is certainly making some waves. Click here to read the full report for free on their website.
We at the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii are concerned with supporting an evidence based, compassionate approach to drug laws. It is thus disheartening to see, laid out in plain English, the history of the DEA’s outright refusal to allow scientific research of marijuana.
While this is not new information, we have long understood exactly how the difficult it has been to receive authorization to study anything but the explicitly detrimental effects of marijuana, the report highlights the fact that the problem is systematic, codified, and intentional. Furthermore, this report highlights a central flaw at the heart of the logic of a law enforcement approach to drug policy.
While a public health based approach is compatible with scientific research and can encourage a variety of policy responses, a law enforcement approach to drug policy does not.
Law enforcement may be a key component to a robust policy in dealing with drugs. Law enforcement will have a role in the enforcement of the framework of laws dealing with marijuana, but law enforcement cannot be allowed to drive policy decisions. As a society, we must always let outcomes drive policy decisions, and not methods. Both the intuitive logic of law enforcement, and this concrete report on
our recent past show that the DEA works by artificially inflating the dangers of drug use. We cannot turn to an organization with only one approach to analyzing consequences when we want policy recommendations. To build a house, you need a blueprint and a hammer. For far too long we have been letting the hammer build the house.