Jesse Ventura on Drugs
Former Independent MN Governor
I keep hearing case after case of somebody doing ten years for drug possession sitting in a cell next to somebody doing two years for a violent crime. Marijuana can get you more time than assault. We’ve got to change that. Prisons should be reserved for violent criminals. Putting anybody else in there is a misdirection, and a complete waste of government resources.
Just imagine if we could find some way for addicts to get their drugs cheaply, safely, and legally. The bottom would drop out of the illegal drug market. We’d see a huge drop in organized and violent crime.
I had been talking about them for years, saying, “Doesn’t anybody else out there see what’s going on?” Steroids came into wrestling with the advent of the bodybuilder physique popularized by “Superstar” Billy Graham [a professional wrestler], who suffers grave medical problems to this day from his past use. Not only do they shorten your life, but guys who took a lot of them were susceptible to what became known as “’roid rage.” They’d suddenly snap under the slightest pressure and would go into a frenzy.
I used steroids occasionally myself. I would take testosterone for 30 days, then I’d go off it for nine months. But I later found out they were destructive. I even did a poster for the FDA once, explaining that I once took them and warning kids not to use them.
But we have to become willing to admit as a nation that our war against drugs has failed. And we have to start looking for other solutions. I want the drug business stopped. But I know it never will stop as long as people want the drugs. It’s supply and demand. You can even get drugs in prison.
But if there were no more demand for drugs, gangs and drug dealers would be out of business. I think the key lies in keeping young people from becoming their customers in the first place. If parents get involved, and if schools educate young people about the dangers of drugs, we can dry up the drug dealers’ customer base. That’s how we win the war.
We don’t need more of the same. We need to rethink our approach. As your Governor, I’ll bring people together and provide the administrative resources to facilitate that rethinking process.
A: Overcrowded prisons and increasing criminal justice expenses are partially due to the misguided way the war on drugs is being waged. Harsh drug sentences have filled our prisons to overflowing with non-violent offenders. Have these harsh sentences worked? No. Does the average citizen feel we are winning the war on drugs? No. Does it make sense to consider new approaches to the so-called drug problem? Absolutely.
Under our current laws, we can’t even keep illegal drugs out of prison. How can we expect to keep illegal drugs off the streets? It doesn’t matter how many drug dealers and users we put in jail. As long as people use illegal drugs, and huge amounts of money can be made by selling them, there will always be more dealers to replace the ones we lock away.
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