|January 15, 2001
Thanks for your recent e-mail on Governors Johnson and Pataki. As you
know, Johnson appointed me twice to our Supreme Court. He is basically
an Ayn Rand libertarian who justifies his opposition to the drug laws on
the substantial saving of money that will result if the law is
liberalized, if not eliminated. He talks little about the immorality
connected with the enforcement of these laws or the pain and stigma
suffered by hundreds of thousands serving hard time for using or dealing
drugs. This outrage in the name of law and order has continued since the
passage of the Harrison Narcotics Act (1914) and the Marijuana Tax Act
(1937), a period of almost one hundred years, without a scintilla of
What causes me the most angst is the fact that despite overwhelming
evidence that the criminal law approach or “the war on drugs” is a
clear failure, our law makers and enforcers continue marching, even into
Colombia, where millions are spent on futile eradication
Frankly, I have concluded that the bankers and government officials
must be on the take. What else explains how the business of illicit drug
activity has expanded, not contracted, despite our giant war effort?
Prohibition and incarceration signaled by the mantra of an ongoing “war
on drugs” continues despite our protests. Frankly, I’m worn out
after protesting for over 35 years to no avail.
Please give our best to Elizabeth.