George Knapp welcomed Judge Jim Gray for a discussion on the possibility of reforming America's drug laws, taking illegal drug usage from a criminal issue into a social and medical one. "Drug prohibition is the biggest failed policy in the history of our country, second only to slavery," he declared, adding that a victory today in the War on Drugs is simply slowing the pace of defeat. People should be held accountable for their actions (such as putting others' safety at risk), but not for what they put in their body, he commented.
Judge Gray cited four steps that could help with the drug problem, and serve as an alternative to incarcerating people for usage-- education, treatment/prevention, economic incentives, and individual responsibility. The Rand Corporation released a study that said there was 7 times more benefit for drug treatment per dollar as compared to imprisoning users, he reported.
He cited a successful program in Switzerland for heroin users that gets away from the punitive mentality. Right now, such groups as drug lords/dealers, juvenile gangs, and terrorists are benefiting from the current drug policy-- and almost everyone else is losing, Gray remarked. An initiative to legalize marijuana is on the November ballot in California, and if it passes, the state could generate huge amounts of tax revenue, end the medical marijuana dispute, and allow for the drug to be strictly regulated. Gray advocated not for legalization of drugs, but for them to be sold under strict regulations, such that they are not advertised, or made available to children. He also spoke in favor of allowing individual states to try out new policies that would work best for them.