A group representing more than 600 Christian church congregations across six Northeastern states has called the war on drugs a failure and endorsed legalization.
On Saturday, the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church passed a resolution arguing that “the public policy of prohibition of certain narcotics and psychoactive substances, sometimes called the ‘War on Drugs,’ has failed to achieve the goal of eliminating, or even reducing, substance abuse.”
The measure says that the group “supports seeking means other than prohibition to address the problem of substance abuse.”
The resolution was championed by the drug policy reform organizations Christians Against Prohibition and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), the latter of which represents police officers, judges and prosecutors who oppose the war on drugs after having waged it.
“Jesus concerned himself with the plight of the poor and marginalized in his society,” Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of LEAP, said in a press release. “In our society, the story of the poor and marginalized is one of mass incarceration, racial injustice, and the breakdown of families caused by the War on Drugs.”
Citing factors such as lives lost to overdoses due to the unregulated production of drugs in the illegal market, overcrowded prisons and clogged courts, the resolution says that “there have been a large number of unintentional negative consequences as a result of this failed public policy.”
It also draws attention to the racially disproportionate enforcement of drug laws.
“To people of color, the ‘War on Drugs’ has arguably been the single most devastating, dysfunctional social policy since slavery,” it reads.
Advocates will now campaign to get the worldwide General Conference of the United Methodist Church to adopt the resolution at its 2016 meeting.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Djevdet