Lucy D. Barker 6:13 p.m., May 23
A crowd of about 60 gathered last Friday, June 17 at Pioneer Park in Mission Hills to call for a massive overhaul of United States drug policy. The rally was timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Richard Nixon’s declaration of a "War on Drugs" and was one of many held concurrently in 15 states across the country, including seven California demonstrations.
Groups represented with literature and speakers included Students for Sensible Drug Policy, A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment & Healing), Moms United to End the War on Drugs, Broken No More, and FACTS (Families to Amend California’s Three Strikes). Former California Assemblyperson Lori Saldaña asserted that “We can no longer afford a War on Drugs,” in a speech that cited prison overcrowding and the cost of incarceration.
After a number of speeches concerning all aspects of drug law from medical marijuana to methamphetamines, the effects of three-strikes sentencing and the proclivity of addicts to gravitate toward criminal careers when directed into prisons instead of treatment programs, the crowd marched down Washington. Many carried signs bearing messages such as “No More Drug War,” and “Health Care for 6 Million or 1 Drug War?” They were later to retire back to the park to hold a candlelight vigil in support of anyone negatively impacted by the War on Drugs.
Editor's note: this post was updated on June 22, 2011, at 11:26 a.m. to clarify remarks by Lori Saldaña.