As an alternative to incarceration, Buttigieg proposed diversion programs, saying the benefits are higher rates of rehabilitation, no incarceration costs and no harm to people being separated from their family.
Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is on the record as saying incarceration should not be the response to simple drug possession.
He disclosed the viewpoint in an interview with the Des Moines Register last week.
When asked if he is referring to various drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine or ecstasy, the politician and Navy Reserve veteran said yes, adding: “that doesn’t mean legalization of everything.”
He gave the example of synthetic marijuana, which he said receives “dramatically less” attention than some other forms of addiction.
The mayor said he witnessed an overdose and is “very much alive to the harm that drug use can cause,” but is also aware that substances as harmful as “rat poison sprayed onto grass” are being sold in some cases.
“You’d be much better off with real marijuana.”
“The idea that you can criminalize addiction, or the idea that incarceration is the right way to handle possession I think has been disproven by the American experience over the course of my lifetime.”
As an alternative to incarceration, Buttigieg proposed diversion programs, saying the benefits are higher rates of rehabilitation, no incarceration costs and no harm to people being separated from their family, loved ones or any supporting group they need the most.
Buttigieg’s official campaign webpage states the following on the topic of criminal justice reform:
“Eliminate incarceration for drug possession, reduce sentences for other drug offenses and apply these reductions retroactively, legalize marijuana, and expunge past convictions.”
This article originally appeared on Benzinga.