Friday, July 8, 2011

Philly and Pot... they both begin with P


Ok... Arnold isn't from Philly... but this pic just makes sense...

D.A.: Philly's new pot policy just makes sense ... and saves dollars

LYNNE ABRAHAM doesn't get it. She didn't get it when she was Philadelphia's district attorney from 1991 until last year.

And she'll probably never get it, no matter how many statistics and reports show that America's 40-year-old "war on drugs" has been a hugely expensive and crime-inducing failure.

"My view remains unchanged with regard to drug abuse," Abraham, 70, said from her office at the Archer & Greiner law firm, where the bulldoggish ex-prosecutor is now a partner.

Her view is that people who smoke marijuana - by far the most widely used illicit drug in the United States - are violent deviants, roaming Philly's streets with deadly weapons, killing witnesses and committing "untold numbers of crimes" to support their habit.

They are the enemy, Abraham and other old-school politicians still insist, even as forward-thinking cities and states are decriminalizing marijuana possession, and polls show that public support for legalizing pot has nearly quadrupled in the U.S. since President Richard Nixon declared drug abuse "public enemy No. 1" in 1971.

"Don't tell me about polls. I don't want to hear it," Abraham groused. "People want to drive 100 miles an hour. They want to smoke pot. They want to do everything!"

Or maybe, as a growing number of politicians and law-enforcement officials now realize, Americans just don't want to continue paying for the arrest, prosecution and imprisonment of nonviolent drug offenders.

Fortunately for Philadelphia taxpayers, Seth Williams does get it.

Williams, who replaced Abraham as district attorney in January 2010, has saved an estimated $2 million in the past year by diverting thousands of marijuana-possession cases into a new program that processes pot smokers quickly and leaves them with a clean record.

Read the rest of the article at PHILLY.COM


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