Ten Reasons to End Drug Prohibition
Copyright © 2002 by Richard Warren
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Drug prohibition will be looked at as a Twentieth Century folly by historians of the future. Let us hope they won’t be calling it a 21st century folly as well. In this short publication, we won’t go into the painful details of:
Here, we will just try to offer a concise list of the reasons why drug prohibition should be ended. Every one of the reasons listed here could easily give way to its own extended essay and debate. So let the debate begin!
I. To reduce the racial tensions caused by the disproportionate numbers of minorities imprisoned for drug offenses, by the disproportionate occurrences of gangs, crime and violence in minority neighborhoods directly traceable to drug prohibition, and by thinly disguised racist law enforcement tactics like “profiling.”
II. To end crimes committed by desperate addicts, forced to raise large sums of money to feed their habits, and to allow these addicts to admit and face their addictions without the fear of prison.
III. To render obsolete the dangerous substances that have evolved into widespread use because of prohibition, like crack cocaine (invented in the 1980's as a reaction to reduced cocaine supplies) and heroin (substituted as the opiate of choice when opium for smoking became less economical to smuggle in the early 1900's).
IV. To end the hypocrisy of throwing cocaine and opium addicts into prison while subsidizing the farmers who supply the nicotine cartels, and while allowing the alcohol cartels to advertise their beer products on television, often targeting young customers.
V. To regulate drug dosages, and require suppliers to provide reliable information labels identifying those dosages so drug users can monitor their intake and avoid sometimes fatal drug overdoses.
VI. To reduce prison populations and crowding, ending the United States’ shameful distinction as the nation which incarcerates the highest percentage of its citizens, ending the need to release dangerous criminals early to relieve overcrowding, and ending the need to build expensive new prisons.
VII. To destroy the drug cartels with one swift blow by eliminating their black market profits and ruining the key to their power— obscenely vast amounts of money. This would curtail the frequency of bloody gang feuds often over turf and transactions, and take the distribution of these dangerous substances out of the hands of greedy criminals, putting them within government control where they can be taxed and regulated. This destruction of drug-oriented organized crime would seep into every level of the black market sales structures, and would therefore include reversing the trend of gun possession by underage drug sellers that arose out of the crack distribution networks in the 1980's. Removal of these vast funds from the drug cartels would also end the cartels potential to tempt and corrupt government officials trying to enforce these laws.
VIII. To end the government’s increasing assault on individual rights that the obsession to “win” this dubious “war” has produced, including the confiscation of private property without due process under “civil forfeiture laws,” laws that constitute a clear violation of the 14th Amendment. (Nonsensical supreme court decisions upholding the Constitutional validity of “civil forfeiture laws” are part of the assault on individual rights referred to, analogous to the infamous Dred Scott decision, existing as political expediency, not justice).
IX. To save the lives of law enforcement officers trying to fight well-financed, well-armed, ruthless and brutal criminals who have built their illicit empires on black market drug profits, and to save the money expended to rescue people from themselves when they do not wish to be rescued (demonstrating the folly of most victimless crime laws).
X. To end the silly illusion that making a law against drug consumption will actually prevent drug consumption, an activity that has been with humans from prehistoric times, and to replace this illusion with more compassionate and realistic policies toward drugs and drug abuse.
When Jeffrey A. Schaler’s new book, Addiction is a Choice, first came out, it sparked vehement protest from the government’s drug “education” office. “Addiction is a disease!” they insisted. “These poor victims of drug addiction are powerless to resist their illnesses.” So why is our government putting sick people in jail? Or, if addiction is a choice, then why is our government, in the “land of the free,” making a crime out of a choice that harms no one except possibly the person making the choice?
Other than pure evil, the most profound threat to personal freedom comes from the premise that government exists to take care of us, and protect us from ourselves, and should therefore make enforceable judgments about what is best for each one of us.
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