“Eighty-five million Americans have experimented with illegal drugs. Since the object of criminal law is to detect and punish the wrongdoer, should we reason that 85 million of us should have spent time in jail?” – National Review Founder William F. Buckley
What if we legalized all drugs? The idea may sound a bit radical to you, but so did gay and inter-racial marriage decades ago. I’m not equating drugs with inter-racial or gay marriage, but there is a curious similarity. Many opponents to such marriages suggest that they will ruin the family unit and destroy America. Some go as far as to say that if we legalize gay marriage then more people will eventually become gay and then people will start demanding the ability to marry animals and so on… bit absurd isn’t it? If gay marriage was legalized in every state tomorrow how many of you would turn gay? I’d place my bet on none. Is it not the same with drugs? If heroin was legalized tomorrow how many of you would rush to the pharmacy to buy heroin? I know I wouldn’t, and I would hypothesize that those who would are already drug users or have contemplated using heroin for some time.
Your first question is most likely why do we need to legalize all drugs? In the United States we arrest 1.6 million people a year for drug related offenses. Of those 1.6 million, an African American male is thirteen times more likely to be arrested than a white male (even though drug use among male African Americans is lower than drug use among white men by almost 10%). In comparison to other crimes more people are arrested each year for marijuana related offenses than all other violent crimes combined. The United States has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s prison population. Over 200,000 of U.S. students have been denied financial aid for college (often preventing them from attending school) because they have a drug related conviction. 82% of all drug convictions are for possession only. It is clear that Nixon’s War on Drugs has failed.
International leaders who favor the legalization of marijuana and other substances include: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, former U.S. official George P. Schultz, former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, former presidents of Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia, and the current Prime Minister of Greece. The desire for drug reform within and outside the United States is quickly coming to a consensus, or arguably already is.
A common concern is what about the children! But what drugs do children not have access to now? In which U.S. high schools and towns do teenagers not have access to marijuana, cocaine, or heroin? A good part of teenagers use drugs to rebel against their parents and are determined to get them. Teenagers who have the want to use drugs will always be able to get them whether they are legal or not. And the same for adults. I’m assuming most of you know how prohibition supports this argument and I won’t delve too into it. What I will mention is that during prohibition people started making Bathtub Gin to make homemade whiskey, but were doing it incorrectly and ended up killing themselves by drinking methanol. The same thing is happening today and has happened for decades as people have attempted to recreate crystal meth, morphine, and others. If you want to see the dangers of people attempting to producing their own drugs search krokodil on Google, but I must warn you the images are difficult to look at.
The United States has spent around $50 billion of taxpayer money a year for decades to fight the War on Drugs and nothing has changed. Where in Portugal drug abusers are treated as ill, and not delinquents. Drug use in Portugal has declined down the line and HIV infection has dropped by 17% and drug related deaths have fallen by almost 50%.
Would the legalization of drugs not save money? Free up prison space? Reduce racial profiling? Increase freedom and liberty? Destroy organized crime and gang-related violence? Appropriate funds on rehabilitation drug abusers and not imprison them? What GOOD does drug prohibition do?