Sep 20, 2007

Hamsterdam comes to life

In Season 3 of The Wire, Major Colvin, fed up with lack of statistical progress in Baltimore's raging drug war, creates an unofficial "Free Zone" in a largely vacant neighborhood. His cops are sent out to relay the message to the dealers, leading to this frank exchange:
"This corner's indicted. We're coming back tomorrow and when we do, everybody wears bracelets — unless you people move your shit down to Vincent Street, down where the houses are all vacant. You do that and we don't give a shit."

"Vincent Street is like Switzerland. Or Amsterdam," explains another cop.

"The fuck is that?" asks one of the dealers.

Marlo's man Fruit still doesn't get it. "Look: We grind, and y'all try to stop it. That's how we do. Why you got to go and fuck with the program?"
Now, a real-life Baltimore City Councilman is not just talking decriminalization, but is writing up a formal proposal.
Baltimore City Councilman Jack Young is taking his war against the “war on drugs” one step farther.

On Monday, Young said he will introduce a resolution seeking a hearing — with testimony from the Baltimore Police Department and the city Health Department — to open a dialogue on what he said is a failed strategy against illegal drugs.

“Like I’ve said before — what we’ve done is not working,” he said....

Among Young’s rhetoric is at least one specific proposal: to make possession of small amounts of marijuana punishable with only a citation, an idea that may end up on a future ballot as part of a citywide referendum, he said.
We'll see if it gains any traction. Ironically, as "Fruit" explains above, drug dealers might have the most to lose.

[via Jason Kuznicki]

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