Saturday, April 14, 2012
Obama on Drug Legalization: Just Say No
U.S. President Barack Obama vehemently opposed any possibility of narcotics legalization, according to remarks he made before the inauguration of the Summit of the Americas on Saturday.
“My personal view and my administration’s position is that drug legalization is not the answer,” said Obama during a business forum with his Brazilian and Colombian counterparts.
Though Obama admitted that he is willing to discuss whether current drug laws are “doing more harm than good,” he warned that widespread legalization would lead to "consequences that are worse than what we’re going through at this moment.”
Obama’s comments today echo remarks he made when interviewed Friday night by Colombia-based Caracol Television. He expressed how he wants to have a “constructive conversation” over drug legalization but also claimed “it's a mistake to think that there is a silver bullet out there and that somehow legalization diminishes the broader challenge.”
Some leaders in the Americas including several conservative heads of state do not share Obama’s views on drug legalization. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos observed that current counternarcotics efforts are like “pedaling on a static bike” and that it’s the right time to seek alternatives. Meanwhile, Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina, one of the strongest regional proponents of legalization, said last month “the strategy that has been pursued in the fight against drug trafficking over the last 40 years has failed.”
Among the governments that agree with Obama’s position on legalization is that of Canada. “The Prime Minister would be a strong voice in that debate against the decriminalization of drugs,” declared Andrew MacDougall, communications director for Canadian PM Stephen Harper. In addition, a consensus on legalization was not reached during a meeting this afternoon of several Central American states along with Mexico and Colombia.
Video Source – YouTube via PBS NewsHour
Online Sources – The Globe and Mail, BBC News, Univision.com, allvoices.com, ecodiario.es, Terra Colombia