June 23, 2011
Four decades of the so-called “War on Drugs” has led only to the suffering of millions of innocents, the crowding of our prisons with non-violent citizens, the utter waste of billions of dollars on law enforcement and the (in)justice system, and the enriching of underground drug gangs who thrive on violence. The outlawing of marijuana in America has been a disastrous political policy and an insane medical policy. It has labeled biochemical addicts “criminals” and thrown them in prisons to be treated like dogs.
The War on Drugs, through interdicting street supplies of drugs, has only made the drug gangs wealthier by driving up the value of the drugs that remain readily available. And it is now admitted that the ATF actually placed tens of thousands of weapons directly into the hands of Mexican drug gangs, giving rise to the very gang violence the agency claims to be preventing (http://www.reuters.com/article/2011…).
The U.S. government, it turns out, is actually contributing to the drug war violence!
Ron Paul, Barney Frank join forces to end the insanity
In an effort to end the insanity, Rep. Ron Paul has joined forces with Rep. Barney Frank to introduce legislation legalizing marijuana in America. President Obama, you may recall, promised voters on the campaign trail that he would do this, too, but it seems he’s been too busy bombing Libya and using the U.S. Constitution as a floor mat to bother keeping any actual promises. (GITMO is still open for business, too, in case you haven’t noticed…)
Of course, the War on Drugs is a very effective tool of tyranny to be used against the American people. It empowers the DEA and the federal government to conduct surprise searches of any home or business for any reason whatsoever (even without a warrant), it keeps the prison industry overflowing with endless cheap human labor, and it grants the big drug companies a monopoly over all those recreational drugs that are now sold as pharmaceuticals.
“Speed,” for example, is now sold as an ADHD treatment for children. Big Pharma is also going after THC chemicals in marijuana and hopes to sell them as prescription drugs. By keeping the War on Drugs in place, Big Pharma is assured a monopoly that even the drug lords haven’t been able to accomplish.
An issue that crosses political boundaries
One thing that’s especially interesting about the so-called War on Drugs is how the best-informed people on both the left and the right now see it all as a complete fraud. Perhaps that’s why Rep. Ron Paul (Republican) and Rep. Barney Frank (Democrat) are the perfect sponsors of this bill. Each has staked out positions on the opposite ends of the political spectrum for some issues, yet they both agree that it’s time to end the failed Nixon-era policies that have only brought this nation suffering and injustice.
Ending the failed War on Drugs is not a conservative idea nor a liberal idea; it’s a principle of liberty whose time has come in America.
Because in observing the War on Drugs, the prison crowding, the drug underground economy and all the other unintended consequence of marijuana prohibition, we must ask the question: Is society served in any way by criminalizing marijuana smokers? How does taking a medical addict and throwing them behind bars accomplish anything at all?
The prohibition against marijuana accomplishes nothing for society
For starters, it halts the contributions of a tax paying citizen. Most pot smokers actually have jobs and pay taxes. They are functioning citizens — lawyers, accountants, musicians, administrators and more. By throwing them in prison, you’re destroying their own ability to participate in the economy while actually placing a new cost burden on the rest of society.
Secondly, from a moral perspective, pot smokers need medical support, not criminal indictment. If someone is suffering from a substance addiction, how does throwing them in prison and surrounding them with other addicts and hardened criminals serve any positive purpose whatsoever? Today, U.S. prisons actually function more like criminal training camps where people come out as far more violent criminals than when they went in. So the justice system actually ends up capturing people who are relatively peaceful, tax-paying citizens and then turning them into hardened criminals who are eventually released onto the streets.
How insane is that?
Wouldn’t it make more sense to allow them to continue to function in society but help them with their drug addiction through a medical / health perspective? Addicts need support, not incarceration. And today’s justice system does absolutely nothing to rehabilitate prisoners. It only makes them far worse criminals.
And finally, from an economic perspective alone, can any U.S. state really afford to continue incarcerating people for non-violent crimes that have no victims? Who is harmed with a guy down the street lights up a joint? No one. There are no victims. There is no crime, either, other than the fictional crime the State fabricates to incarcerate people.
A “real” crime is a crime that has a victim: A rape, a burglary, a mugging, or a murder. Those crimes deserve proper consideration by the justice system, and people who commit such crimes are precisely the kind of people society can justifiably put behind bars. But carrying a few ounces of marijuana in your pocket — or even lighting up a smoke — violates no person or property. Nor does it violate any moral or ethical principle. It is, in every way, an act that is improperly and unjustifiably criminalized through legal fictions engineered by the state.
The solution to marijuana prohibition is finally at hand
It is time to end those legal fictions and end the War on Drugs in America. The solution is to:
#1) LEGALIZE marijuana across the country.
#2) REGULATE marijuana and allow it to be sold through licensed retailers.
#3) TAX marijuana sales and use the tax proceeds to fund addiction support programs for those small percentage of users who end up addicted.
The results of these actions will be:
#1) A COLLAPSE of the drug gangs. If marijuana is suddenly legal, who would bother buying it from a street dealer?
#2) A COLLAPSE of drug profits. If it’s legal, the price goes down. Suddenly there’s no more money in trafficking the drug, either, so the drug gangs are instantly out of business.
#3) A HUGE INCREASE in revenues to the states from collecting taxes on the legal sale of marijuana.
#4) A REDUCTION in young people trying the drug. What teenager wants to try something if it’s LEGAL? Legalizing pot takes all the “fun” out of it for many young people. It’s no longer cool. Kinda boring, actually. And it makes you cough.
#5) A SAVINGS of billions of dollars off all the money states are right now spending arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating people for possessing marijuana. This money could be used to build schools, roads, job re-education programs and more. And don’t court judges have better things to do than sentence pot smokers?
#6) AN END to prison overcrowding. End the sentences for those incarcerated merely for marijuana possession. Set them free and end the prison crowding. Save the prisons for the real criminals such as murderers, child molesters and Wall Street bankers.
#7) A FREER, more just society that respects human dignity. If you treat addicts like criminals, you take away their dignity, and your entire society suffers a net loss. By recognizing the humanity behind the addiction, we can restore human dignity to the entire process of how we deal with drug addicts in society today.
Action item: Call your Congressman to support this bill!
Here’s what you can do right now to help support this bill: Call your Congressman in Washington D.C. and tell them you want to support the bill to end the federal ban on marijuana.
The switchboard number is 202-224-3121.
If you live in the U.S. or are a U.S. citizen, call this number now, ask to be connected to your Congressperson, and verbally express your support for the bill to legalize marijuana across America.
It is time to end the failed War on Drugs, stop the useless incarceration of millions of innocent people, and halt the tyranny of the DEA and other federal agencies that waste billions of dollars every year stalking and assaulting people who merely want to smoke a weed.
I don’t smoke weed, by the way, but as a person who believes in the principles of freedom and liberty, I fully support the rights of others to smoke marijuana if they so choose. Similarly, I don’t drink alcohol, but I support the rights of other to drink alcohol if that’s their decision. As a nation, we tried prohibition with alcohol and it was a disaster. Now we’re living through the era of marijuana prohibition, and it is a disastrous failure as well. Isn’t it time we grew up as a nation and allowed people to take responsibility for their own actions as long as they aren’t harming anyone else in the process?
Smoke all you want, folks! I’m gonna have a superfood smoothie instead.
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This article was posted: Thursday, June 23, 2011 at 3:11 am