Making marijuana and several other currently prohibited drugs legal would in one fell swoop drastically reduce the caseload in our criminal justice system, cut violent drug cartels off at the knees and shift the public policy focus on drug abuse from the criminal sphere to health and education.
The war on drugs has been an abysmal failure. From reports I have read in recent years the percentage of users has not changed one iota in three decades. But public spending for enforcement, prosecution and incarceration of drug users has skyrocketed. Let’s stop throwing good money after bad and end the blind ideological adherence to a misguided prohibition. Let’s free up our law enforcement personnel and court system to prosecute true threats to public safety.
Of course, the key questions are which currently prohibited substances should be liberated from the underground, and how do we protect our youth.
To number one I would say, marijuana, cocaine, and some stimulants; to number two, the same way we protect youth from liquor.
Regulate them, tax them, make them available from licensed distributors – and put the cartels out of business. Sure, there may be an underground market for other substances such as methamphetamines, psychedelics and opiates, all of which I think should be decriminalized to some extent – but the black market will take such a huge bite in the behind as a result of losing the profit margin on pot and coke that it will damage them strategically and permanently.
As far as our youth are concerned, I think the public health issue will remain similar without the “adding insult to injury” factor of enriching foreign and domestic crime organizations. It’s already illegal to give a 14 year old gin. We should not let up on that policy.
Anybody who wants can now ruin their life with gin. Anybody who wants can tell their general practitioner a story and get a lifetime prescription of valium. The seven deadly sins are going to be there, no matter what. You can consume your way to hell on beer or bon bons. Public morality, or spirituality, has been a problem since, roughly, Moses.
Why facilitate the crime organizations’ profits via government-sponsored inflation of the price of Sloth?
I am not suggesting we make it easier for our children to obtain psychoactive substances. I would welcome increased enforcement of laws already on the books in that regard. Ending the counterproductive prohibition on adults will free up law enforcement assets to do a better job enforcing the rules on our kids.
Furthermore, forcing the criminals out of the business will, I believe, eliminate a prominent cultural force which currently influences our children.
The larger threat to American society is from the black market businesses that have run the drug trade for over a generation. Let’s concentrate on putting them out of business.