The mayor of South Bend, Indiana and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg, plans to decriminalize all drug possession.
That would be his solution to fight the nation’s opioid crisis according to Buttigieg’s website.
Basically, Buttigieg is doubling down on his plan not to send any suspect convicted of drug possession to prison.
Rather, he offers a vague plan of services where people can seek treatment.
Chris Wallace interviewed Buttigieg who indicated with his plan, thousands of drug traffickers who plead down to possession of drugs would not spend a day in prison.
The exchange went as follows:
WALLACE: You not only want to decriminalize marijuana, you want to decriminalize all drug possession. You say that the better answer … is rather treatment, not incarceration. But isn’t the fact that it’s illegal to have, possess meth and heroin, doesn’t that in some way — the fact that it’s illegal — act as a deterrent to actually trying it in the first place.
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BUTTIGIEG: Well, I think the main thing that we should focus on is distribution and the harm that’s done there. Yes, of course it’s important that it remain illegal.
WALLACE: But you would decriminalize it, so it wouldn’t be illegal.
BUTTIGIEG: Possession should not be dealt with through incarceration.
WALLACE: But you would say that possession is not going to be illegal.
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BUTTIGIEG: Is not going to be dealt with through incarceration.
WALLACE: But your website says decriminalize.
BUTTIGIEG: Yes, or it could be a misdemeanor. The point is, not the legal niceties, the point is we have learned through 40 years of a failed war on drugs that criminalizing addiction doesn’t work. Not only that, the incarceration does more harm than the offense it’s intended to deal with. This is not saying that these substances are okay, it’s saying that when somebody develops that kind of addiction, throwing them in jail or being in a situation where jail is the closest thing they’ll ever get to in-patient treatment, shows a profound failure in our country’s mental health and addiction treatment system. And I don’t think that comes as a surprise.