El Paso City Council Wants Discussion on Drug Legalization

Friday, January 9th, 2009

Earlier this week, the El Paso, Texas city council passed a resolution with 12 steps the U.S. and Mexican governments might take to quell the violence in Juárez, Mexico, El Paso’s sister city just over the border.  Juárez saw 1,600 homicides last year, with 20 more already this year.

But it was the twelfth and final recommendation that brought out El Paso Mayor John Cook’s veto pen: The city council unanimously voted to urge both governments to at least study and open debate about the possibility of legalizing narcotics.

It’s encouraging that the city council managed to pass the resolution without a dissenting vote.  It’s disappointing that in calling for no more than study and discussion, the resolution met only derision and dismissal from the mayor and from El Paso’s congressman, Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas).

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8 Responses to “El Paso City Council Wants Discussion on Drug Legalization”

  1. #1 |  Cynical In CA | 

    The people of El Paso, through their elected representatives (I guess that’s the only way their voices can be heard), certainly can express their opinions. “Freedom of speech” is an essential fig leaf for the State’s naked power, as it perpetuates the myth of popular sovereignty.

    Scant recognition is about all they’ll get.

    The drug war will never end. It is a key source of unlimited revenue and control of the population for the ruling class and its minions in government. They’d be fools to end it without being forced to. Nothing short of a revolution will accomplish that.

    Wake me up when it’s over.

  2. #2 |  scott clark | 

    ummm, does anybody in El Paso (or anywhere) think that the city council’s resolution would mean anything to the Feds? I was at my local Cox Cable office switching out my cable box and I saw all these resolutions frome the House of Reps and the Senate about what a great cable company Cox is. I think Cox would be the same without the resolutions as with them

  3. #3 |  nemo | 

    The point is that the painfully obvious is finally being given the voice it’s been denied all these decades. For decades, the DrugWarriors have dodged the ‘bullet’ that a real, actual public policy debate on the efficacy of the DrugWar would represent for them.

    When the drug law reformers make the offer to debate, they either hear desperate silence masked as bravado, or pathetic attempts to beg off by saying that the ‘science’ backs them, so no debate is necessary. Press them, and they get nasty, saying that they don’t discuss laws against murder with murderers, or laws against child abuse with pederasts.

    But the money to run Gub’mint is running out; no amount of printing up more currency is going to magically increase its’ value. It’s triage time, and some Fed agencies should either have their budgets reduced or be eliminated altogether, and their funding allocated towards more effective or needed programs…and top of the list of prospective ‘burnt offerings’ should be the DrugWar and every agency that’s gotten arrogant, fat, bellicose on it.

  4. #4 |  Andrew Williams | 

    I read the statement by El Paso Councilman Roberto O’Rourke–the one who drafted the resolution–and found it to be one of the sanest, clearest statements on the failure of the War on Some Drugs ever made by a politician. So I was not at all surprised that the Mayor vetoed it.
    I’d love to see Councilman O’Rourke get together with his namesake P.J. and go on a barnstorming tour of Texas promoting drug legalization.

  5. #5 |  Andrew Williams | 

    BTW, Councilman O’Rourke’s full statement is available here:


  6. #6 |  Zeb | 

    If you really want to drive yourself crazy, check out Pete Guither’s compilation of the idiotic comments in response to an article on this in a local paper: http://blogs.salon.com/0002762/2009/01/07.html .

  7. #7 |  Cynical In CA | 

    Yup, Zeb. The same people who think wet sidewalks cause rain.

  8. #8 |  Jim | 

    I live in Florida so I have no idea about the politics of El Paso but it is possible that the mayor actually supports this but knows that signing this will cost the city federal and state money that will be needed when the violence spills over. The unanimous vote could give the mayor what he needs to make it a news story at to start to push the debate.

    In the world that is this might be the best that could be done. Or the guy is a dick that can’t look over the boarder to see how senseless this all is.