Education Letter to the Editor

Supreme Court Decision Shows Misplaced Priorities

September 10, 2007 1 min read

To the Editor:

Regarding Alex Kreit’s Commentary “‘Bong Hits’ for Student Speech” (Aug. 29, 2007):

The U.S. Supreme Court should take a cue from the nonsensical banner “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” that inspired its decision to limit student free speech. It might do the justices some good to take a few bong hits for Jesus.

Before sacrificing any more civil liberties at the altar of the drug war, they should ask themselves: What would Jesus do? Would Jesus persecute, incarcerate, and deny forgiveness to nonviolent drug offenders? Zero tolerance is decidedly un-Christian.

Morally, the drug war is wrong. On a practical level, the drug war is an abject failure. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there were 786,545 marijuana arrests in 2005, the vast majority for simple possession. America is one of the few Western countries that punish citizens who prefer marijuana to martinis, yet lifetime use of marijuana is higher in the U.S. than in any European country, according to the study “European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Drugs,” released in 2001.

Thanks to the war on some drugs, the U.S. Constitution is increasingly irrelevant, and the land of the free now has the highest incarceration rate in the world. This is not a policy worthy of constitutional exemptions. The drug war has failed to keep drugs out of prisons, much less schools. The Supreme Court should prioritize protecting civil liberties over perpetuating drug-war failure.

Robert Sharpe

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

Washington, D.C.

A version of this article appeared in the September 12, 2007 edition of Education Week