“War On Drugs” Needs To End

Posted: October 4, 2009 in Current Events, Politics
Tags: , , , , ,

The so-called “War On Drugs” needs to be put to rest, at least in its current incarnation.  We have been at this since the late 1960’s, and we still haven’t “won”.  And we are not going to win, because it is not winnable.  There will always be a certain segment of the population that wants drugs, and therefore there will be another certain segment of the population that will want to provide those drugs at a certain cost.  It is simply the laws of  supply and demand at work.  So really, all the “War On Drugs” accomplishes is clogging our justice system and jails with a ton of people who are really only a threat to themselves, and spending billions and billions of dollars (over $40 billion a year by some estimates) in the process.  It also leads to ridiculous situations like this:

Walbash Woman Didn’t Realize Second Cold Medicine Purchase Violated Drug Laws

Yes, clearly a grandmother that buys cold medicine for her family is a menace to society that must be stopped!  Here is the problem I have with these laws.  Nobody cares if you buy and use cold medicine.  So clearly that’s not the purpose of these laws.  And the production of meth was already illegal of course.  But apparently it was proving too difficult to find meth producers and get convictions.  Therefore it was decided by legislators, with the encouragement of law enforcement, that laws would be passed that if you bought certain amounts of certain items, you could be convicted with the clear assumption that you are making meth.  Forget about innocent until proven guilty.  We are just going to assume you are making meth and throw you in jail.  And if some “innocents” get caught in this net, well that’s just “collateral damage” from the “war”.

This really runs counter to what our justice system is really suppose to be about.  By design, our justice system favors an innocent finding with the idea that we would rather risk letting a few guilty people go free than risk sending an innocent person to jail.  Laws such of these accomplish just the opposite.  I have allergies, and living in Alabama, well let’s just say the pollen levels can be just a bit high.  I could use some pseudoephedrine every once in while.  But I simply refuse to purchase anything where I have to put my name on what amounts to a suspect list for illegal activity (and that’s all that list really is).  So I go around with a clogged up nose, and if I am really lucky, a sinus headache!  So way to go society!  I can’t breath, but I guess I can’t make meth either, which I would have probably been certain to do if I merely had enough sinus medicine!  I wouldn’t have been able to help myself apparently, though I did manage to resist the massive temptation before these laws were passed.  Must have been a fluke!  (I know they still have over-the-counter sinus medicine with different ingredients.  But the stuff just doesn’t work.  That’s probably just as well, because if it was strong enough to work, it would be strong enough to abuse or make something that could be abused.  And then laws would be passed for those ingredients as well, so we would just be right back here.   Sigh.)

We should probably just legalize drugs.  Marijuana is a no-brainer, as I am pretty sure that this is no more dangerous than substances, such as alcohol and tobacco, that are already legal.  But I am at the point of thinking maybe we should just legalize it all.  If you want to mess up your own body, that is your own business, not mine.  Perhaps legalize drugs, but then heavily punish users that break other laws while under the influence.  In other words, as long as you are only impacting yourself, we as society will leave you alone.  But if you start risking the health of others, such as by driving while other than influence or committing other crimes, we as society throw the book at you.  Legalizing drugs would certainly reduce the burden on our justice system.  Of course, it would directly reduce the burden by reducing the number of drug cases.  But it would also reduce the burden indirectly, by eliminating the crime (much of which is violent and  gang related) that is created by forcing drugs into the black market.

Also, we should focus on education and rehabilitation.  Everyone should have the means to know exactly what drugs are and their consequences.  Then each individual can make his/her own decision.  And help should be there for people who want to give up their addiction.  I think if you want to reduce drug usage, focusing on the demand side of the market chain as oppose to the supply side makes a lot of sense.

Just to be perfectly clear, I am not one of these people making the “legalize drugs” argument from a selfish perspective.  I do not, nor have I ever, used marijuana or any other drug.  Heck, I don’t even smoke or drink.  I am as square (some would even say ‘boring’) as it comes in this regard.  And no, it’s not just because it is illegal.  I just don’t have any interest in it.  But that’s my personal choice.  Others should be able to make the same personal choice.

I guess that is “what grinds my gears” this week.  You want to know what really grinds my gears.  Geico!  I mean, they set the bar low with the obnoxious cavemen.  But they somehow have gotten progressively worse, going from that to money with eyes.  I hate to see what the next thing they come up with will be!  I guess at least they haven’t come up with anything as creepy as the Burger King guy.  Go away, go away, Burger King guy…….. um, but I guess that’s a blog article for another time!

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Comments
  1. Follow the money… Just like in the Watergate scandal, money is at the root of the problem with street drugs in the United States. Where does the undeground money come from? The prohibition laws making street drugs possession and sale a crime. That makes them more expensive, more profitable, and therefore more widely sold. Legalization would deflate the black market, and all of the self-help justice (and violent crime) that goes with it.

    For more of an argument for legalization along these lines, see my web page
    http://www.liberty-lawyer.com/drugcrimecharges.html

    Great article. I agree.

  2. I’m with you. I’ve never used illegal drugs either, but I tend to think legalizing them could only improve things. I had to buy Sudafed last month and sign it out at the pharmacy. Ridiculous!! (Though I do enjoy Sudafed). I’m starting to explore the idea of a Libertarian society–I’m only at the beginning of my journey, but legalizing drugs seems a no-brainer. Also, since we started making it so hard to get the ingredients for Meth, now it’s coming from Mexico and strengthening the drug-lords in that country. We’ve outsourced it!!

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