Sunday, January 11, 2009

Legalize now!

The United States of America has got to quit fighting the futile and misnamed War on Drugs. As Sting diagnosed more than twenty years ago, "There is no such thing as a winnable war. It's the lie we don't believe anymore." This is doubly true for a war wherein one's own side is the enemy. American consumers are who drive the demand for narcotics. The war on drugs has also pointed on the ludicrous failure of America's drug education programs. Lying to youth about the potential dangers of drugs, like all propaganda, devalues the points where the state or the man is actually telling the truth. America has to shoot straight with its youth about the real dangers of drugs, and there are significant dangers. It also has to move away from blatantly failed paternalism, learn from its mistakes and legalize.

Will President-elect Obama have the guts or the time to push this radical agenda? Freeing up the massive amount of resources America wastes fighting the drug war would allow these resources to be diverted to far more important places and dangers, like port security (and all homeland security) or screening unsafe toys and food that come into the country from China and elsewhere.

Read an article here from the Los Angeles Times about the havoc being wreaked by the war on drugs. Note to non-economists: fighting the war on drugs raises the price of drugs, HUGELY.


Aaron said...

Reference: Lying to youth about the potential dangers of drugs...

"You hear you are going to lose your mind and die if you smoke marijuana. I said, 'When I smoked it, none of those things happened. It was kinda of cool.' Part of useful education program about drugs is honesty."---former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson

SongInHerSky said...

I never felt my education on drugs (through school/DARE/whatever) included propoganda - and certainly no one ever told me I'd die from smoking weed.

That said, I do agree with the idea that the war on drugs we fight currently (a supply side war) is totally ineffective and a waste of precious resources. If we endorsed a demand side war on drugs, through better education about the dangers/costs of drug use I think it would be money better spent.

SongInHerSky said...

I also firmly believe we should toss convicted drug users (not sellers or those who committed other crimes while using drugs i.e. negligence, vehicular manslaughter, etc.) into state run rehab centers rather than prison. prison rehab offered (if any) is usually woefully inadequate, plus black markets in prison allow access to drugs while in for same crime, and many drug users learn about/become interested in more serious forms of crime when tossed in with common criminals. plus prison seems to be a totally ineffective deterrent to drug use.

since running this as a debate case in college many times, i've become totally convinced that it's right.

SongInHerSky said...

connection in second comment is (sorry i forgot to say) - in the same vein (about drugs and how we treat drugs/drug offenders) - plus talk about a waste of money!! the costs of incarceration in this country are huge. a rehab program would probably be more affordable...though i've never actually crunched/researched the numbers.

Aaron said...

Totally agree that prison for drug users is both ineffective and a money pit.

Also agree that prison spending in America is out of control, and an egregious waste of resources when government needs to be investing in infrastructure.