Guest Columnists

Ending America's Drug War

Most Americans, when they think about alcohol prohibition in the 1920s, scratch their heads and ask ‘why did anyone ever think that was a good idea?’

It obviously wasn’t. Prohibition started the American switch from hard cider to hard liquor. It created the Mafia. It killed 10,000 people with poisonous alcohol. When prohibition ended those problems disappeared and today we accept and live with both the good and the bad of alcohol.

Flash forward and thinking people ask the same question today. Why did anyone ever think the Drug War was a good idea?

It isn’t. The Drug War puts $300 billion dollars into the hands of hardcore criminals every year. In Afghanistan the Taliban still earns 40 percent of its money from America’s Drug War. North Korea uses America’s Drug War to finance nuclear bombs and long-range missiles that may already be able to hit the United States.

America’s Drug War killed hundreds of thousands of Mexicans and drove tens of millions of others to make a mad dash for the safety of the United States.

America’s Drug War created an epidemic of heroin overdoses — last year an average of two per week in Cedar Rapids.

Finally veterans. There is only one known cure for PTSD and it’s ecstasy, the party drug. One to three sessions under the guidance of a trained therapist cures 83 percent of patients, but it’s illegal to do this, because of America’s Drug War.


You may ask — but how can a sheriff stop this national tragedy? The answer is — a 20th century sheriff can’t. Someone with 36 years in the sheriff’s department and no experience in the real world can’t think outside the box, they are the box.

I’m different. My first career was law enforcement. It ended when a mayor born in 1903 decided he didn’t like my beard. He didn’t like my thinking outside his box.

I moved on and started a natural food company, when I left it employed 300 people and was famous for on-site child care and a cafeteria featuring local and organic food. I was thinking outside the box in 1976, before most people ever heard of organic food.

Then I spent 10 years volunteering for a children’s charity in Guatemala, hiking the Appalachian Trail, studying French in France, Spanish in Spain, Chinese in Beijing, and calculus at Kirkwood.

I think outside the box. I’m pure Iowan — born and raised and lived here all my life — but I think outside the box. Because I’m from Iowa, I work hard and I work by consensus, but I challenge people to think bigger than they have ever thought before.

A 21st century Sheriff in Iowa can end America’s Drug War the same way a man with a pick took the first rock out of the Berlin Wall. That man was thinking outside the box, but when everyone else saw him they joined in, because they could see it was a good idea. In three days, the wall was gone.

That’s leadership.

• More information:;; Facebook: @IowaRick; Twitter: @RickStewart



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