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Just say no to the war on drugs.

According to Judge James Gray, this is exactly what the American public and the United States government should do.

Gray is a California Superior Court Judge and the author of Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed And What We Can Do About It -- A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs.

Monday night, Gray was the speaker at the White Dog Cafe Foundation's bi-weekly Table Talk.

Before an audience of about 50 people, including at least five Penn students, Gray described himself as a "warrior" against the war on drugs, and he outlined its failures to the dining crowd.

A passionate speaker who held the attention of his listeners, Gray asked the crowd, "How many of you feel that we in America are in better shape today than we were five years ago in terms of the prevalence of drugs in our society?"

Not one person raised a hand.

"Of course not," Gray said. "Economics 1A says, 'If the demand is there it will be met.'"

Gray then linked what he called America's "prison-industrial complex" to the drug war.

"We are churning low-level, mostly non-violent offenders through the system and removing them from the market," Gray said. "The bigger, better organized dealers appreciate it."

Gray also stated that the war on drugs has resulted in the high price of drugs, which in turn has fueled the incarceration of over two million people in the U.S.

According to Gray, this number is only one million in the European Union, which has five times the population of the U.S.

To be sure, Gray is no proponent of drug use. He went so far as to say, "You could bless cocaine by the Pope and I wouldn't jam it up my nose."

However, he denounced U.S. government agencies' "addiction" to drug war funding, as well as America's political unwillingness to recognize the failure of that war.

Gray advocated the exploration of other means of reducing drug use in the United States. He cited Switzerland's Drug Maintenance program, in which heroin addicts who have failed drug treatment at least twice receive a regular, doctor-determined dosage of heroin that neither induces a heroin rush nor allows the addict to go through withdraw. Gray said that this program has been so successful at reducing crime and drug trafficking that the Swiss government has expanded it to 20 cities.

Gray said he sees a change coming in American drug policy.

"The issue that is going to change this is going to be the money," Gray said, in reference to the tax dollars spent on incarcerations and attempts at confiscation.

Gray said he foresees a combination of decriminalization, regulation, education and holding people accountable for their actions as the answer to America's drug woes.

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