The United States’ “War on Drugs” has been and will continue to be a failure. Thus I will not argue how the “epidemic” has proven failure, but rather how the premise yields failure. The reality of the matter is that people will find means to satisfy an addiction, whether legally, or illegally. This was the case when the prohibition of alcohol was introduced not all too long ago. Notice that alcohol consumption did not decrease, at least not dramatically. Speak easies were common, and “moonshine” liquor was easy to come by. Fortunately, Franklin D. Roosevelt realized the ridiculous nature of prohibition, repealed it, and drank a beer.
Contrary to what the social authoritarians in Washington tell us, Marijuana is actually quite easy to come by. On some college campuses, it is even more attainable than alcohol is. Why is that? The bartenders, who pay a great deal for licenses, know very well that they will be suspended if they sell to minors. However, the black market pot dealers have no licenses. Thus, they have zero to lose in selling pot illegally.
We also must get over the notion that anything that is legal is not necessarily honorable or encouraged. William Buckley, Jr. once made a very good point that while contracting syphilis is legal, society certainly does not encourage contracting the disease. If we legalize marijuana, that does not mean that everyone should light up.
Additionally, the War on Drugs aids the dangerous and violent drug cartels that are invading our country. Because we lock up anyone who sells marijuana, the only people who can successfully satisfy the demand in the US are the Mexican drug lords, who have millions of dollars, and planes to fly their “goods” into the country. Once in the country, the cartels wreck havoc in the inner cities. The cartels kill thousands of innocent Americans in drive-bys and gang violence. If we were to cease the “war,” we could bring the cartels to their knees, and save innocent lives.
Many people will make the argument that we should legalize it solely for tax revenues. These people, however, neglect the fact that confiscatory taxation is a form of prohibition, and will only maintain the status quo. We see this today with cigarettes. In New York, a pack of legally purchased cigarettes tops ten dollars. The high prices send people in droves to the black market, to online sites run by the Chinese, and to Indian reservations; where cigarettes cost less than half that much.
We must also realize the financial burden the War on Drugs has left. This year alone, over $50 Billion has been poured into telling people what not to do. Over one million have been arrested for drug related violations, and about eleven thousand have been jailed. Just imagine our country saving $50 Billion/year, and keeping over ten thousand people out of jail annually. We would have so fewer prisoners, and so fewer prisons. The economic benefits would be outstanding.
Interesting factoid…the prohibition of marijuana (cheap at the time) likely led to the creation of more dangerous, but cheaper drugs, such as crack and meth.
Lastly, we must begin to take accountability for our own actions. People dying as a result of their own drug abuse are not innocent lives lost. As I mentioned earlier, children and innocent Americans are killed because of the cartel presence in the country. If the government really wants to prevent usage, the answer lies within education, not within criminal punishment. I am not proposing a system of anarchy. We would treat marijuana or any other controlled substance like we treat alcohol. If you sell to a minor, you get in big trouble. If you operate while intoxicated, you lose your license. A system of personal accountability and a restoration of liberty and common sense in the government will turn this country great again.