Judge Whitman Knapp Quote

“[A]fter 20 years on the bench, I have concluded that Federal drug laws are a disaster. It is time to get the Government out of drug enforcement. ... If the possession or distribution of drugs were no longer a Federal crime, other levels of government would face the choice of enforcement or ... decriminalizing. ... The variety, complexity and importance of these questions make it exceedingly clear that the Federal Government has no business being involved in any of them. What might be a hopeful solution in New York, could be a disaster in Idaho, and only State legislatures and city governments, not Congress, can pass laws tailored to local needs. ... It [Congress] should repeal all Federal laws that prohibit or regulate their distribution ...”

~ Judge Whitman Knapp

May 9, 1993, letter to editor, New York Times.

Ratings and Comments

J Carlton, Calgary

Knapp is 100% correct. Like most Federal laws, Drug laws should be imposed at the State level. That is, if they are necessary at all.

jim k, Austin,Tx

Federal drug laws make matters worse, not better. They increase crime in our streets, make thugs around the world rich, make drugs readily available to our children, corrupt law enforcement agencies, fill our jails to overflowing, costs the taxpayers billions, and allow cops to steal private property without cause due to asset forfeiture laws. This must be stopped.

Elizabeth, Astoria, NY

Agree. Local problems must be solved locally.

cal, lewisville, tx

One shoe never fits every foot. Let the states rule independently on all internal matters.

Mike, Norwalk

Not shooting the fascist messenger here, he is absolutely correct.

Ray, Vancouver, Canada

These quotes are timely.The unimpeded growth of the Federal Government has become a growing sore that will not heal. I have lived extensively in the U.S. and am familiar with the politics down to the State level. I emphasize the comment from., cal, lewiville, tx.: LET THE STATES RULE INDEPENDENTLY ON ALL INTERNAL MATTERS. The drug problem can only be minimized, not eradicated. Legalize but monitor carefully.

Ron, Salem

Pass laws tailored to local needs. Returning the states and their citizens there liberty and freedom to moderate use in their given culture. The highway laws of the road do a good job in curbing DUI's as in the state of Oregon along with strict perdestrian laws to adhere to safe movement of walkers and bikers, which some states have no regard for ! Bad habit ! These types of policings for the perdestrians, walkers and bikers sakes curb well the road rage seen so rampant in states like Florida, It forces people to consider their neighbor, who are at a disadvantage. Makes people think of something other than themselves, especially when driving !

Mike, Norwalk

I find it absolutely incredulous and criminal that a servant at such a level and position as a Federal Judge can only recognize and address the disaster that is the federal involvement, he will not / CAN NOT address the unconstitutional and immoral federal government stance / tyrannical position on the issue.

Bruski, naples FL


Will we ever wake up to reality?

E Archer, NYC

Congress may repeal drug prohibition laws or various drugs can be re-classified to essentially 'legalize' them. But again, it is the premise that is to be 'repealed' -- the government does not have the authority to regulate behavior, including what powers I may posses, in whatever form -- sword, pen, gun, drug, medicine, machine, knowledge, vehicle, printer. Read the Constitution, none of those powers are given to the federal government. If the culture and consciousness of the common people support the regulation of the personal habits of the people, then the government can get away with it, even if those powers are not authorized by the Constitution. The real work is to expose the rackets to the people, until the enemy is clearly defined. Just how far off the deep end are Americans willing to go? How many will be empowered to be free and take responsibility? Will Liberty rise again?


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