Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., a town of just over 100,000 residents, wants to decriminalize all drugs in America if elected president.
Buttigieg was speaking on his evolution on criminal justice reform in an interview with the Des Moines Register’s editorial board when he dropped a bombshell of sorts.
“I would not have said even five years ago what I believe now,” the 2020 presidential candidate said last week. “Which is that incarceration shouldn’t even be a response to drug possession.”
If that doesn’t throw you for a loop, Buttigieg goes on to explain that this would be a positive step for the public health of children. Seriously.
“What I’ve seen is that while there continue to be all kinds of harms associated with drug possession and use, it’s also the case that we have created — in an effort to deal with what amounts to a public health problem — we have created an even bigger problem,” he said.
“A justice problem and it’s own form of a health problem when you think about the adverse aspects on a child,” Buttigieg continued. “We have kids in South Bend who’ve grown up with the incarceration of a parent as one of their first experiences. That makes them dramatically more likely to wind up themselves having an encounter with the criminal legal system.”
In effect, children will be healthier from a psychological standpoint by not having to deal with their parents being put in jail for abusing drugs.
“I’ve always been skeptical of mass incarceration, but now I believe more than ever that we need to take really significant steps like ending incarceration as a response to simple possession,” the candidate said.
Buttigieg was asked if that meant “across the board,” as the newspaper’s editor named “meth or coke or ecstasy.”
“That’s right,” he replied. “It doesn’t mean legalization of everything, and you know one issue that gets dramatically less attention than some other forms of addiction is something like synthetic marijuana.”
When incarceration is removed as a penalty for drug use and possession, you have all but made it legal.
The mayor said the problem with synthetic marijuana was “mostly affecting African American youth” in his city, before recounting an experience of coming across three people who had overdosed on the drug.
“So I’m very much alive to the harm that drug use can cause,” Buttigieg said, “But in a case like that, what we found is its convenience stores selling this stuff that is basically rat poison sprayed onto grass. You’d be much better off with real marijuana than this stuff, which is very toxic.”
Convenience stores in South Bend selling synthetic marijuana???
While Buttigieg said he wasn’t talking about legalizing drugs, he goes on to say he is looking to decriminalize drug use.
“The idea that you can criminalize addiction, or the idea that incarceration is the right way to handle possession,” he explained, “I think has been disproven by the American experience over the course of my lifetime.”
His campaign website says our criminal justice system subjects black Americans to systemic racism and there are “far too many people are locked up unnecessarily.”
The answer is to unload our prisons, of course.
The candidate promises: “Ensure more people are free by significantly reducing the number of people incarcerated in the United States at both the federal and state level by 50%.”
All part of “The Douglass Plan — A Comprehensive Investment in the Empowerment of Black America,” coming from a Democratic candidate with anemic support among black voters.
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