Denver US District Court Judge John Kane,
Jr., has once again strongly attacked US government drug policies. Kane has
been a harsh critic of the war on drugs since at least 1998, when he signed
on to a famous two-page ad that ran in the New York Times under this banner:
"We believe the global war on drugs is now causing more harm than drug abuse
itself." That ad, which called on United Nations Secretary General Kofi
Annan to lead a major shift in global drug policy, was also signed by
veteran newsman Walter Cronkite, former senators Claiborne Pell and Alan
Cranston, former secretary of state George Shultz, conservative economist
Milton Friedman and former New York police commissioner Patrick Murphy.
Kane has not been silent on the subject
since, speaking out at events across the country over the past few years. On
Tuesday he spoke at Denver's City Club luncheon at the Brown Palace Hotel
and, according to the Rocky Mountain News (Denver), "won a standing ovation"
from the crowd of business people with his attack on the drug war.
The war on drugs is costly, ignorant and
futile, Kane said. Drug prohibition only encourages drug dealers to seek
black market profits, even from children, he added. "I don't favor drugs at
all," Kane said. "What I really am opposed to is the fact that our present
policies encourage children to take drugs."
The war on drugs is a miserable failure,
Kane said, noting that drugs have become ever easier to obtain and drug use
has risen despite decades of prohibitionist policies. The senior judge
recounted a story about a friend of his in his 60s who was being treated for
cancer. The man joked to his family that he wished he knew where to get
marijuana to relieve the effects of chemotherapy. The next day, the man's
11-year-old grandson brought him three joints. "Don't worry, Grandpa -- I
don't use it myself, but if you need any more just let me know," Kane quoted
the boy as saying.
The federal government has no real
scientific basis for its drug policy, Kane said, nor does that policy fit
with American notions of fairness and justice. "Our national drug policy is
inconsistent with the nature of justice, abusive of the nature of authority,
and wholly ignorant of the compelling force of forgiveness," he said. "I
suggest that federal drug laws be severely cut back."
And the assembled business people