Libertarians disagree with both President Obama and former President Bush on virtually all aspects of drug prohibition. Liberals talk about decriminalization which is nothing more than government control over the distribution of drugs while conservatives believe in a simple minded childlike prohibition scheme. It's time for a new approach
by Jim Iannuzo
Let’s put drug prohibition in perspective. The Federal Government has no moral or constitutional authority to prohibit some drugs while mandating others. Currently you can not choose which medications to personally consume without sanction, while the government is willing to forcible inject drugs (vaccines) into your body. An American with an aggressive form of skin cancer may not have access to potentially life saving drugs simply due to a lack of FDA approval; while in Massachusetts, legislation allows state health agents to enter your home without a warrant and forcible medicate you for any reason deemed appropriate. The decision to take medicine must reside with the individual. A government program that prohibits drugs or forces drugs upon anyone is immoral.
The term drug is often used with a negative connotation probably due to the stigma associated with 'War on Drugs' but in reality, drugs can be both beneficial and toxic. At one time coffee (caffeine) was considered a dangerous drug due to the resultant stimulating effect, today we call it Starbucks. Excessive consumption of water leads to intoxication and even death. Witness the case of Jennifer Strange who drank to much water during a 2007 radio show contest and subsequently died. Should we criminalize the over consumption of water? No of course not! Personal responsibility must supplant government control with each of us assuming the consequences of good and bad decisions.
The only time government has any moral basis to interfere with drugs is when fraud or force are used against an individual. For example, a date rape pill slipped into a woman’s drink is an act of forced medication that clearly warrants prosecution against the man regardless if rape is part of the equation.
What about marijuana, cocaine, heroin and the endless host of drugs deemed evil by the 1970 Controlled Substance Act? Surely we can’t legalize these types of drugs. The short answer is yes and here’s why legalization is the right answer.
FACT 1: Prior to the 1914 Harrison Opiate Control Act all of the above mentioned drugs were available without regulation. This era marked one of the most productive times in American history. Very few people took cocaine or heroin. In fact when these drugs were completely legal, only 0.25% of Americans were regular users of opiate products. In 2004 after spending nearly 1 trillion dollars for The War on Drugs, the number of regular opiate users were greater than 3%. Legalizing drugs would reallocate wasted taxpayer resources into productive areas.
FACT 2: Drug prohibition has resulted in violent criminal elements and gangs. Just as the 18th Amendment (Alcohol Prohibition) turned a small time thug named Al Capone into a violent criminal, drug prohibition continues to be a ripe breeding ground for the Crips, Bloods, Bulldogs and other violent gangs. Violent crime from alcohol trafficking decreased dramatically after Alcohol became legal again due to the passage of the 21st Amendment in 1933. Legalizing drugs would reduce violent urban crime.
FACT 3: Selling drugs is a highly profitable business. Prohibition has resulted in a professional cartel system that markets increasingly addictive drugs to children to develop a large customer base. The cartels use the same direct sales model many companies use to market computers or cars. Legalizing drugs would eliminate the enormous drug cartel profits.
FACT 4: A recent Zogby Poll asked 1000 Americans the following question. If hard drugs such as heroin or cocaine were legalized would you be likely to use them?” The results were that 99.4% of the respondents said no, while only 0.6% said yes. This data is consistent with the use rates prior to 1914 and much lower than hard drug use rates in 2009. Legalizing drugs would reduce use rates.
FACT 5: Drugs are routinely found in our highest security prisons. Increased penalties will not reduce addiction rates but would fill up already overcrowded prisons with non violent offenders. 2009 is slated to become a record year at 1.9 million drug related arrests with an expenditure of 50 billion dollars. Legalizing drugs would decrease prison costs and reduce the broken family syndrome that results from incarceration.
FACT 6: The enormous health benefits resulting from increased research on controlled substances, especially in the field of pain relief far outweighs potential misuse. Legalizing drugs would open up new venues for pharmaceutical research and development potentially leading to new discoveries.
Drug prohibition has led to an increase in addiction, victimless incarceration, lost jobs, broken families, inability to access life saving drugs and most of all your freedom. It’s time to just SAY NO to the politicians that have stolen our freedom in their endless quest for more control over our lives.
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