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Colbert Report War on Drugs Segment Addresses Drug Policy

by Cassidy Noblejas Bartolomei, published
Screenshot: Comedy Central

What are we to do when the essential conversations that surround any serious political issue have been rendered a joke by the inadequacy of mainstream media coverage?

Enter the comedians.

Though comedians are usually found musing over the absurdities characteristic of major news networks at the edge of the political stage, comedians like Stephen Colbert have rushed the mainstream center stage.

Monday night a Colbert Report War on Drugs segment poked fun at the absurdities of American drug policy, highlighting New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s declaration that state lawmakers would not receive a raise until “public view” marijuana was decriminalized.

After speaking directly to the “stoners” in his audience, Colbert pointed out that New York drug laws disproportionately affect Hispanics and black youths.

Throughout the United States there have long been murmurs to end the War on Drugs, and recently many organizations have structured these murmurs into legislative proposals.

University of Southern California’s Initiative & Referendum Institute released the Ballotwatch Report, which reported:

“Marijuana-related measures are on the ballot in six states. The most far reaching propositions are citizen proposals that would legalize recreational use of cannabis: Colorado’s Amendment 64, Oregon’s Measure 80, and Washington’s I-502. Although federal law prohibits possession of marijuana, advocates of legalization believe that public opinion may be shifting in their favor. In 2008, Massachusetts voters approved Question 2 that decriminalized small amounts of the drug, making possession of less than one ounce subject only to a $100 fine. In 2010, California voters narrowly rejected (47-53) Proposition 19 that would have legalized personal use. Both the Colorado and Washington initiatives are leading in early polls, 47-38 and 55-32, respectively, and could provide a bellwether victory for legalization.”

Presently, the federal government and states are tangled in the messy precedents set by drug laws. President Obama’s blueprint for solving America’s mismanaged drug policy shows that the matter will ultimately stay in the hands of the feds.

To combat the problems arising from current policy, Obama plans to eliminate meth from communities and expand drug courts. Like most of Romney’s campaign platform, his plans for drug policy at the federal level remain largely unaddressed, but he has made it clear that he opposes the legalization of marijuana.

Libertarian presidential candidate, Gary Johnson, speaks candidly of his plans to stop the War on Drugs and leave matters of substance control to the states.

Driving home the issue that drug policy in America is contradictory and illogical, Colbert poignantly closed the segment reminding his viewers:

“Remember drugs are not the answer, kids, except when they are.”

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