Pastors Seek to End War on Drugs By Decriminalizing Use

The Rev. Edwin Sanders says churches should help heal the sick, feed the hungry and set prisoners free.

Even if they smoke pot.

Sanders, pastor of Metropolitan Interdenominational Church in Nashville, is part of a group of clergy who want to end the war on drugs by decriminalizing drug use. They met this week in Nashville at American Baptist College.

Sanders said the so-called war on drugs has failed for two reasons. First, he said, addiction to drugs is a disease, not a crime.

“You don’t criminalize and incarcerate people who have a disease,” Sanders said. “You treat and care for them.”

Second, Sanders said, the laws on drug use aren’t enforced fairly. A report from the ACLU of Tennessee released Thursday showed that black Tennesseans are arrested on marijuana possession charges four times as often as whites. About 45 percent of those arrested for marijuana-related crimes are black, even though blacks make up about 17 percent of the state’s population.

– Read the entire article at USA Today.