Filmmaker Eugene Jarecki addressed the California Senate for 40 minutes on Monday, describing the war on drugs as an "abject failure" and urging the lawmakers to show "Christian compassion" by ending it.
He warned that imprisoning young Americans for drug offenses was increasing crime rather than reducing it. Jarecki said tough drug laws were "actually working backward and making more crime, making our communities less safe."
Noting that figures such as anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, televangelist Pat Robertson, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) all opposed the war on drugs, he told the Democrat-led state Senate that reforming drug laws had become a common ground between liberals and conservatives.
Jarecki explained that the nation's harsh drug policies had a disproportionally negative impact on minorities and alienated law enforcement from communities. He condemned the war on drugs as a campaign "not based in human dignity and redemption" and a "self-perpetuating monster."
But Jarecki sounded optimistic that the war on drugs would soon end.
"We are heading for a revolutionary change of this system -- you can see it," he said in response to a question from State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Fransisco). "It is not affordable any more, the disaster of it is so clear and has become so unmitigatedly clear that there's few people who will advocate this in public... marijuana legalization is supported by a majority of Americans."
Jarecki is the director of the award-winning documentary The House I Live In, which explores the mass incarceration that has resulted from the war on drugs.
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube by CASenateDems, below: