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Copyright (c) 2009 University of California Hastings College of the Law 
Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal

Article: Humonetarianism: The New Correctional Discourse of Scarcity

Winter, 2010

Hastings Race And Poverty Law Journal

7 Hastings Race & Poverty L.J. 1


Hadar Aviram*


In mid-April of 2009, the San Francisco Chronicle ran an unusual article, which may have raised eyebrows among followers of the chronicles of the War on Drugs. It concerned the resuscitation of the old marijuana legalization/regulation debate, but approached it from a less-than-beaten path. Among other things, it reported the following:

Experts say an unprecedented confluence of factors might finally be driving a change on a topic once seen as politically too hot to handle.

Among them: the recession-fueled need for more public revenue, increased calls to redirect scarce law enforcement, court and prison resources, and a growing desire to declaw powerful and violent Mexican drug cartels. Also in the mix is a public opinion shift driven by a generation of Baby Boomers, combined with some new high-profile calls for legislation - including some well-known conservative voices joining with liberals.

Leading conservatives like former Secretary of State George Shultz and the late economist Milton Friedman years ago called for legalization and a change in the strategy in the war on drugs. This year mainstream pundits like Fox News' Glenn Beck and CNN's Jack Cafferty have publicly questioned the billions spent each year fighting the endless war against drugs and to suggest it now makes more financial and social sense to tax and regulate marijuana. 3
What would have led conservative scholars and pundits to support marijuana legalization? Until recently, the rhetoric surrounding marijuana possession and trafficking would have made such propositions unthinkable. 4 As this article argues, this ...
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