Revolution in Arizona

For an account of Portugal’s 14-year experience with legal drugs:

Starting Jan. 1, California is slated to roll out recreational marijuana sales. Utah allows non-psychoactive CBD extract to treat epileptic seizures, and a medical marijuana initiative will be on the 2018 Ballot. Washington and Oregon have legalized medicinal and recreational pot. Idaho and Wyoming remain prohibition states.

To the south, in Arizona, petitioners are gathering signatures due by July 5, two petitions to legalize recreational marijuana, and one to legalize all drugs. Yes, all drugs. If it makes it onto the ballot and voters approve it in November, the initiative would re-legalize all drugs, including cocaine, heroin, LSD and methamphetamine.

The State of Arizona would be ordered to recognize that drugs and drug abuse are not a criminal problem to be solved by arresting people and putting them in prison, fining them and seizing their assets. Instead, Arizona will recognize that drug abuse is a medical problem.

But it goes much further than that. It forbids taxation, regulation or controls on any use—smoking, consumption, drinking, injection, sale, transfer, cultivation, production, storage or importation—of any drug or drugs. Nor shall any state government agency assist the federal government in their enforcement of federal laws against drugs.

The initiative specifically includes prescription drugs, over the counter drugs, plants used as a drug, chemicals used to manufacture a drug, including concentrates like hashish, wax, shatter, hash oil.

It also provides for amnesty for those convicted of drug crimes, especially if their conviction was the result of a plea bargain.

If passed, Arizona shall not extradite a person to another state or country if the crimes they are charged with are now legal in Arizona. The measure provides for personal and civil liability for a minimum $1 million in damages for any police officer or prosecutor who violates an individual’s drug rights, with no good faith exemptions.

The petition is called RAD Final, named in reference to petition group. Relegalize All Drugs. RAD also has filed a petition to legalize just marijuana, and it would also forbid government regulation and taxation of marijuana. Successful marijuana initiatives have so far followed the strategy of government involvement, allowing the state taxation and regulation powers.

Note that Norway, the most conservative of Scandinavian countries, this past month decriminalized all drug use except for manufacturing and trafficking, modeled after the successful Portuguese model.

Political unrest in Honduras following the Nov. 26 election caused airlines to cancel flights to San Pedro Sula, the third most violent city in the world, with 112 homicides per 100,000 people. The right wing candidate Juan Hernandez was declared the winner, supported by both Hillary Clinton and the Trump administration. The left opposition party Libre has refused to accept the results, citing widespread voter fraud. Honduras is the original Banana Republic. Government support for the land use policies of United Fruit, now Chiquita Banana, has led to coups and assassinations of reformers. U.S. Marines kept the brutal dictator Anastasio Somoza in power for decades. In 2009, reform President Manuel Zelaya was kidnapped and flown to U.S. airbase Soto Cano.

The American war on drugs and heavy-handed support of American corporate interests is a major cause of criminal and political instability in Latin America. In 2015, Honduran parents sent their children to the U.S. to escape the violence. Still, the unaccompanied minor story became about immigration policy. U.S. interventions and the drug war are rarely covered in the corporate media.

If initiatives like RAD Final are passed, it will help put an end to bloodbaths in our politically invisible neighbors to the South.