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Why I Oppose the War on Drugs

I support the legalization of most recreational drugs, and I strongly oppose the “War on Drugs”.

From my political view summary post:

I am a pragmatist, and the War on Drugs has been a failure.  Recreational drugs should be legalized, regulated and taxed, similar to alcohol.  This will de-fund the gangs and organized crime in America and the cartels in Latin America. Certainly, recreational drug usage will increase, but the overall impact will be positive.

One of the reasons I consider the War on Drugs a failure is what it has done to our police forces. In the linked article, which I recommend highly, Megan McArdle links to a police video shot in February 2010, when the police executed a late night warrant on a FAMILY (husband, wife, 2 kids under 10) that resulted in the shooting of the two family dogs in front of the kids.

In order to combat drugs and drug traffickers, our police have morphed into paramilitary urban combat units. They have also become far more likely to shoot first and asks questions later. Both of these make sense when the police are tasked to go after drug gangs that are themselves heavily armed. There is also a cycle of drug asset forfeitures providing funds for police weapons and training, which results in more SWAT units and the need for more money to arm and train them.

I am not saying that drugs aren’t a societal problem.  Of course drugs are a problem; there is a terrible human cost to addiction and even to recreational use. I pray frequently that my daughter not get involved with drugs. But that doesn’t mean it that drugs should be illegal. What should be illegal, and harshly punished, are the negative activities that affect others, such as driving under the influence and providing drugs to minors.

The thing is, prohibitions don’t work in a free society. The prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s and 1930s was a driving factor in the growth of organized crime in America. And the prohibition of recreational drugs has directly led to the growth of the Latin American drug cartels. If people want something, it is far better to control it, regulate it, tax it, and mitigate its harm than it is to prohibit it and fight it.

Those who urge and support the war on drugs seem to think that there is no cost to fighting it. They are wrong.

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  1. fenderbirds says

    nice article, keep the posts coming

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