El Paso City Council Wants Debate on Drug Decriminalization
Posted on January 9, 2009, 12:36pm | Radley Balko
Earlier this week, the El Paso, Texas city council passed a resolution with 12 steps the U.S. and Mexican governments might take to quell the violence in Juárez, Mexico, El Paso's sister city just over the border. Juárez saw 1,600 homicides last year, with 20 more already this year.
But it was the twelfth and final recommendation that brought out El Paso Mayor John Cook's veto pen: The city council unanimously voted to urge both governments to at least study and open debate about the possibility of legalizing narcotics.
It's encouraging that the city council managed to pass the resolution without a dissenting vote. It's disappointing that in calling for no more than study and discussion, the resolution met only derision and dismissal from the mayor and from El Paso's congressman, Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas).
Can I get a "WTF?!?"
This is undeniable proof that the war on drugs is more an issue of "morality" for our high-ranking politicians than an issue of actual fact. How disgusting is it that a mayor of a town experiencing real and increasing difficulty as a direct result of the drug trade created by black market conditions will veto research on this issue?
If they are so confident in their assertion that keeping drugs criminalized is the lesser of two evils, there should be no problem with looking into the possible effects of decriminalization. But that's just it - as more and more jurisdictions shift toward decriminalization without any of the dramatic repercussions nay-sayers predicted, they're terribly afraid that the fact will prove them wrong after all these years and billions of dollars.
Three cheers, however, to the City Council that was brave enough to want to explore the facts.