Sunday, September 30, 2012 3:44 AM
Crime-inciting Laws should be recognized for what they are. The USA went through a violent period of Prohibition and ultimately recognized that a Repeal of Prohibition was the right thing to do. The criminal distribution organizations were defanged by making their products available from a licensed liquor store.
Abortions were illegal for a long time but still happened—malpractice and unwanted children were the result. Rove v. Wade gave us the right to choose abortion, which stopped the horrors of backroom abortions and self-abortion attempts. Couples were able to plan their families—even when the Pill and other contraceptives failed to prevent pregnancies.
In both these cases, everyday citizens who found themselves in desperate straits were forced to go against the law to have a drink or to end an unwanted pregnancy. The fact that people will always seek these things, plus the fact that criminalizing these things did not prevent them from happening, plus the fact that criminals are prone to make money from these situations—all made the decision to legalize them a choice that (when all was said and done) was merely common sense.
How we have gone so many decades ignoring this common sense surrender to human nature with regard to controlled substances is a puzzle to many, myself included. Tons of money, manpower, and international cooperation have gone into the fight to keep society free of drugs—with no effect whatsoever. Anyone can get any drug—they need only ask for them from the criminals who sell them. People even grow or cook up their own drugs without too much difficulty.
Meanwhile, millions in taxes are wasted on the futile War on Drugs; billions in cash flow into the war-chests of the major drug cartels; and millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens are imprisoned on drug charges of a non-violent nature (which wastes more millions in tax money). Plus, there is the health issue—shared needles spreading disease, no help for the addicted, and no quality-control of the drugs being dealt, bought, or used. And, again, we see no change in the status quo. All that wealth, all the blood spilled, all the wasted effort—and drugs are still easily available on any street corner.
Would legalization make the problem better or worse? Well, firstly, how worse can things be? Plenty of people use illegal drugs every day. Will legalization cause an increase in their numbers? I don’t see how—anyone who wants drugs is getting drugs.
I won’t even go into the positive effects legalization could produce—they are not necessary to my argument. The drugs have won every battle in the war on drugs and they have created huge, networked criminal organizations around the world and in all the fifty states. Legalizing drugs would impact the criminal world like a body blow. The war on drugs, oddly enough, can be won by surrender.
The main difficulty is acceptance. No one wants to say, ‘Go ahead, use drugs all you want.’ But legalizing drugs is not an encouragement, but rather a freeing of drug-users from the fear and secrecy that present day drug use entails. And if it turns out that one drug, above all others, is just too dangerous to ignore we will have two advantages: 1) Other drugs can be offered as substitutes, and 2) we can better interdict a single substance than the entire spectrum of controlled substances we are banning at present.
To continue the War On Drugs is just plain stupid. It is a knee-jerk reaction to a situation that requires more thought than reflex.