Richard Posner, Federal Judge, Slams ‘Absurd’ Laws Against Marijuana, Other Drugs
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Richard Posner, Federal Judge, Slams ‘Absurd’ Laws Against Marijuana, Other Drugs

I think it’s really absurd to be criminalizing possession or use or distribution of marijuana,

Richard A. Posner, a conservative U.S. Court of Appeals judge, declared his support for scaling back strict federal prohibitions on drugs, particularly marijuana, during a college lecture late last week.

“Personally, I don’t think we should have a fraction of the drug laws that we have. I think it’s really absurd to be criminalizing possession or use or distribution of marijuana,” Posner said, prompting applause from the audience at Elmhurst College in Illinois. “I can’t see any difference between that and cigarettes.”

Posner was responding to a broader question about the U.S. penal code and the growing power of prosecutors. In his explanation, he went on to say that he had additional concerns about the enforcement-first strategy to controlling other drugs. Posner decried the “serious problem” of a current system designed to address “relatively minor crimes” through harsh punishments, thereby draining resources for “legal minds,” corrections facilities and people who could otherwise be productive if not incarcerated.

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