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New Movie Makes Strong Statement about Drugs

Wisconsin is bucking the trend when it comes to marijuana legalization. With no provision for a ballot referendum and a legislature that is strongly conservative, there is currently no path forward for those seeking to get weed legal in this state. But an editorial in the Wisconsin State Journal makes a strong case for at least decriminalizing possession of the drug.

The editorial springs from a new movie out this summer: How to Make Money Selling Drugs. The movie purports to show how those who sell drugs directly don’t make quite as much money as those who sell the fear of drugs. The tongue-in-cheek documentary interviews actual drug dealers as well as prison employees, lobbyists and others who make their living off the drug trade.

As the editorial writer points out, the true power of the movie is in capturing the landscape, from the addicted victims who take powerful narcotics to the criminals who sell them and the vast system in place to both prosecute and then incarcerate drug offenders. Theatergoers come away with a different perspective. The intent of the movie is to show, with candid, sometimes embarrassing interviews, just what’s going on in the War on Drugs.

From the addiction standpoint, drugs in society are a medical problem much more than a law enforcement problem. Treat the addict and you necessarily treat the societal problems that stem from addiction. However, as the movie makes clear, addiction is only a small part of drug use in the US. We apparently like our drugs, as much as we like the legal alternatives. So while addiction gets the headlines and drives policy, it seems that the use of illicit substances will never completely disappear.

Documentaries do have the power to change people’s minds and drive attitudes about an issue. Whether this one will end up fading away or generating even more interest in drug policy reform, no one can say yet.

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