End The War On Drugs. Start By Legalizing Marijuana.
Midterm elections are coming up with a host of policies to vote on. This month I’m going to talk about several political matters whos fate our ballets will determine. Starting with the most obvious and easiest disaster to see: The War On Drugs.
Anyone with eyes to see can recognize the total disaster of The War On Drugs.
More Prisoners. More Police Abuse. More Corruption. More Gangs. More Crime. More Killings. More Fear. More Waste. More Debt. More Government Spending. More Government Control.
“Drug Prohibition is the biggest failed policy in the history of our country, second only to slavery.”
-Retired California Superior Court Judge James Gray
If you do nothing else to look into this issue, at least watch this video from a hero of mine, Milton Friedman, who explained decades ago in great detail why drugs should be legalized:
What have we gained from all the deaths, police crackdowns, and money spent? What have we gained?
Have people stopped doing drugs? No
Is drug use less prevalent? No
Are kids prevented from doing drugs? Find me a high school in this country where you can’t obtain virtually any illegal drug.
Should we try to stop people from doing drugs?
Let’s back up a little and get to the heart of this. Look down. You see your arms, legs, fingers, stomach? Who does that belong to? Who takes care of your body? Who’s responsible for it? If you don’t hurt anyone, your body is your business, and only your business. What you put in your mouth is no one else’s business.
This is fundamental and crucial to every other political matter you will ever encounter.
As long you harm no one, what you do with your body and your life is your decision.
This country was founded on that principle. How did we lose sight of it?
Some people believe they know what’s best for you. And, sometimes they might even be right. But your body is yours. That’s what freedom means. The only way to deal with others who have the ability to think, is to respect their rights to live by their own decisions. That’s what rights are. What you do with your life and your body is your decision. And that includes your right to make bad decisions. If you want to drink Drano, it’s your body, it’s your right. If you want to shoot heroin , it’s your body, and it’s your right.
Some people, they disagree. Citing a number of statistics to show how drug addictions impair performance and thus are a detriment to society, they push hard to make drug use illegal. Let me ask you, are all drug users addicts?
I look down on junkies. They’re kind of pathetic, and I routinely make fun of tweekers and coke heads. They’re not innocent victims. Someone who casually drinks alcohol is not an alcoholic. People aren’t alcoholics because touching alcohol makes them that way. There’s usually underlying problems in their life that aren’t simply solved by taking away the alcohol. Turn on Jerry Springer and sometimes you can see some morbidly obese people. Is the problem that if we all have access to food that we all will simply gorge ourselves beyond capacity? The same goes for junkies. There’s usually underlying problems that make them feel like they need to rely on drugs. Someone who casually enjoys some drugs is not a junkie.
Someone who enjoys drugs for occasional recreation can definitely live a productive life. Even junkies (like alcoholics) can still live a productive life. The questions is: Do these drug law supporters have any right to plan our lives according to their vision in the first place?
I’m a sober person. Life is more productive that way. I like my brain to be quick and on top of things. I don’t drink alcohol. I don’t smoke cigarettes. I don’t even drink coffee. Until my recent trip to Burning Man, I haven’t smoked weed since 2007. The time before that was once in 2005. Am I part of a social problem? I enjoy marijuana very rarely and only when I’m on vacation and have no work to deal with. Should I be penalized for that crime?
What about users who enjoy it more regularly, should they be punished? Should they live in fear of getting caught doing a personal recreational activity?
The guy in this drug raid video had a small amount of marijuana in the house. Did he deserve to have a Swat team barge into his home in the middle of the night and shoot dead his 2 dogs in front of his 7 year old son?
This is CRIMINAL. This is what drug laws have brought American citizens. Drug laws turn our government and police into criminals, who violate our rights to our property, our privacy, and to do with our body what we like. These police officers created violence where no violence had existed before. Read this excellent article about this drug raid. Apparently “raids just like the one captured in the video happen 100-150 times every day in America”. Luckily no one was killed in this raid. Many other innocent Americans were not so lucky. Check out this Map from Cato Institute of Police Drug Raids Gone Wrong:
View Original Map and Database
Click on a pin to read any of the stories. Red pins are deaths of an innocent.
(Like this one about Donald Scott who was shot and killed in front of his wife in a raid that was later discovered to be motivated by the desire of corrupt police intent on seizing his 200 acre Malibu Ranch)
How terrible. Not one of these raids should ever have occurred.
It gets worse. Despite the extra fear we have to live with from our police searching for recreational drug users instead of violent criminals, despite the extra court nightmare tying up and ruining peoples lives, all taxed at our expense, we are bankrupting ourselves by filling up our prisons with drug users.
From a report created by a Washington, DC criminal-justice think tank: “According to the US Department of Justice, 30-40 percent of all current prison admissions involve crimes that have no direct or obvious victim other than the perpetrator,” the report shows. “The drug category constitutes the largest offense category, with 31 percent of all prison admissions resulting from such crimes.” Nearly a third of all prison admissions are from non violent drug offenses! And it costs an average of about $47,000(!!) per year to incarcerate an inmate in prison in California. Imagine also the salary the inmate could have received with a real tax paying job. Are addicts better able to contribute to society while whittling away behind bars surrounded by violent offenders? California has about 150,000 inmates in overcrowded prisons. Imagine how much money we would save and how much more contribution our society would receive if we didn’t incarcerate drug users. The money we spend enforcing drug laws is actively used to harm us.
Oh, and yeah, there is no constitutional authority for any federal agency to enforce drug laws. Whether sanctioned by a majority of the public or not, those who arrest drug users and throw them in jail have no authority to do so, and are simply acting criminally. We have inalienable rights in this country and a binding constitution document that is intended to protect that.
We’re told that we need to fight this war against drugs because of all the harm drugs cause us from those who become addicts. Look, we have drugs laws, tough ones, and we still have addicts, many of them. Are we to believe that legalization will expose us all to a much larger epidemic of addiction? Will Grandma start shooting up heroin when it’s no longer illegal for her?
Well, they’ve legalized drugs in Portugal. Read this article to see how decriminalization actually reduced drug use and improved other related social issues.
Drug-friendly Netherlands is closing 8 prisons, because there’s Not Enough Crime.
Reality: there is a demand for drugs. Whether its from people who enjoy it, or need it, clearly people are willing to pay a lot to get ahold of it. Drug laws do not stop drug use. These laws do not stop buying and selling. Drug laws don’t reduce demand at all, they only reduce supply. Creating a shortage, in a very interesting way. It’s a shortage that can only be supplied by criminals. The only thing drug laws do is create a black market. Black markets do not operate by our laws. There is no legal way to settle disputes in a black market. What are you going to do, tell a judge your cocaine supply was stolen by a rival seller? Simple understanding of supply and demand makes clear that shortages of items in demand always cause price increases. Always. With an increased price and thus an increased profit, the stakes are high (very high) for criminals to deal. Criminals have a nasty reputation for not respecting human life, let alone property rights of others. If you’re going to operate on the black market, you will need to protect yourself. You will need to arm up. When selling drugs is criminal, only the criminals sell drugs.
|Congratulations Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman Loera! By selling drugs and murdering the many who got in your way, you’ve made the Forbes list of Billionaires! Glad to see you’ve already thanked our president for helping you in this achievement.|
No one opposes Drug Legalization more than violent Drug Cartels and Local Gangs. They need the profits to keep coming in to purchase more weapons and amass more power and control to grow their territory. When the DEA actually does make a large bust they further restrict the supply, which serves to only increase the profits and make it that much more lucrative for other criminals to now step in. This is a war that can never be won.
To quote a Reason Magazine article on this issue:
“Iran has a repressive theocratic regime that imposes severe penalties for using and selling drugs—including death by hanging. Yet it has one of the highest rates of addiction in the world.”
Let’s look at what’s happening now.
Watch this video
While I do support Republicans on many economic matters, I am disgusted with them on The Drug War. Republican supporters of Ron Paul or Gary Johnson (former Governor of New Mexico) do support complete legalization, but most Republicans are the ones on the front lines pushing for harsher penalties (although many Democrats are afraid to support legalization). If Republicans are going to speak about defending freedom, they need to start supporting decriminalization, in mass, now. The video above is actually from Fox News and it gets the issue right.
There’s even a prominent organization called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)
Check out this CNN special on them
CNN has an excellent commentary here on the situation
What are drugs financing in Mexico?
What are drugs financing in our streets?
Drug law supporters say they don’t want businesses profiting by selling drugs to people.
Well, would they rather violent gangs and drug cartels profit? It’s one or the other, someone’s going to supply it. Especially as marijuana is a $113 Billion (!) industry in the US. Better that desperately needed revenue stay in our economy.
Let’s keep that revenue out of the hands of violent criminals. We have lived with violent gangs in our country for several generations now, so that people now living don’t remember a time before they existed. Generations of children have now been raised with a violent code of survival, while poor communities have been ripped apart and devastated.
Drug law supporters say they don’t want children to have better access to drugs.
Children have BETTER access now. It’s much easier for a 16 year old to buy marijuana or psychedelic mushrooms than it is to buy a beer. They check your ID for a beer. No one checks your ID when you buy PCP or crack. When I was in high school 13 years ago, there were 2 sellers competing to sell marijuana on the bus ride to school every day. Even with our rules and strict penalties, it’s easy and profitable for any high school kid to start selling.
Drug law supporters say that drug use harms communities.
Please! There is no comparison between any productivity loss of a recreational user or an addict and the terror caused by gangs springing up to supply the black market.
Look, we gave up on alcohol prohibition in the 1930s because it was an obvious menace to our society.
John D. Rockefeller, the wealthy industrialist legend, stated it best in 1932 when he wrote:
“When Prohibition was introduced, I hoped that it would be widely supported by public opinion and the day would soon come when the evil effects of alcohol would be recognized. I have slowly and reluctantly come to believe that this has not been the result. Instead, drinking has generally increased; the speakeasy has replaced the saloon; a vast army of lawbreakers has appeared; many of our best citizens have openly ignored Prohibition; respect for the law has been greatly lessened; and crime has increased to a level never seen before.”
If you ignore the past, you are doomed to repeat it.
A kid gunned down in a drive by shooting is a totally innocent victim. A crack head who can’t kick his habit is not an innocent victim. At considerable taxpayer expense we are increasing our government debt to increase police harassment, overload our prisons with non violent but otherwise productive users, and encourage violent gangs to sprout up who terrorize us, steal from us, and leave so many dead in our streets. And FOR WHAT?
To try and reduce drug use?
To protect users from themselves?
I’m normally very diplomatic with people I disagree with, because I know ultimately they want to do the right thing. Not about the Drug War. This is too obvious and too extreme to be politely understanding. The only thing I can say to anyone who supports The War On Drugs is Shame On You! Shame on you for telling people what to do with their bodies. Shame on you for turning a blind eye to the crime and killings that have sprung up. Shame on you for throwing people in prison who have harmed no one. If you vote this November to keep Marijuana illegal, shame on you. You have blood on your hands. You are harming the free people of this country. I am embarrassed to call you a fellow American.
I have a personal story here. When I was in high school, a friend of mine who (I soon found out) did sell drugs was surprise ambushed by 10 wannabe gangsters with broken bottles and a gun, upset over a previous dispute. Unfortunately I was hanging out with him when this happened. I had no idea what was happening or why. But one of them stuck a gun in my mouth and the 10 of them then beat the shit out of both of us. I had no idea where the next punch would come from. Even after we fell to the ground, they didn’t stop kicking, until they eventually ran off with our wallets and a clear message for my friend. This happened in the nice Los Angeles suburb of Encino. I couldn’t sit for a week. The bruises lasted longer. I told my parents I got into some stupid fight at school. And I never hung out with that friend again. But I know that if it were not for the War on Drugs, that situation would never have occurred. Whenever I hear about The Drug War, I remember looking into the eyes of that degenerate holding a gun in my mouth. He’s smiling and enjoying his power. If he was literate enough, he should have sent a thank you letter to our drug law supporters for helping him find a great way to quickly make a lot of money.
What are you going to vote to support? Individual liberty? Or spending, debt, prisons, law enforcement abuse, waste, and power to violent criminals, gangs, and cartels?
Vote Yes on Prop 19. Let’s take a step towards reversing this War on Drugs nightmare by legalizing Marijuana in California.
UPDATE: Our country has a lot of financial problems.
According to a study published by the Cato Institute “legalizing drugs would save roughly $41.3 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement of prohibition”. Additionally the report also estimates that “drug legalization would yield tax revenue of $46.7 billion annually, assuming legal drugs were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco”. That’s about $88 Billion (!) that we are paying to ruin our American way of life. Aren’t you glad we’re setting aside that large sum for funding narcotics officers hunting down non violent drug users to throw them in prison?
UPDATE 2: Scratch what I said about Democrats and Republicans above. Check out this youtube video of an attack ad from the Democrat candidate for Senator of Kentucky against Rand Paul (Republican) for not supporting the Drug War:
I do agree with one sentence from this ad, “Lives, families, and whole communities are destroyed everyday.” That’s true. I hope the makers of this ad will stop, look, and think about what’s causing that.
UPDATE 3: Reason TV has an excellent new video explaining the economics of our prohibition to the lovely Hillary Clinton.
UPDATE 4: You’ve got to check out this video of Ron Paul vs. Barack Obama on the The War on Drugs!
UPDATE 5: I am so impressed with Reason.tv. This is a fantastic music video on the Drug War.
UPDATE 6: Even Conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia now believes that Federal Drug Laws were a mistake by straining the courts and diminishing “the elite quality of the federal judiciary.”
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