Recently, the Liberal Party of Canada announced that it was making a platform change on its stance toward illegal drugs. They announced that it was now the position of the Party that Marijuana would be legalized if they are voted into power in the next election cycle. They have reasons – trying to attract the stoner vote is one – but in any case that is their position.
It’s a position that I happen to agree fully with. Let me preface this with a declaration: I don’t do drugs of any kind or type. The closest I come these days is alcohol and I have a single ounce of that a night mixed into soda. The alcohol content of the types I drink is such that it can be considered negligible. I don’t smoke tobacco or imbibe caffeine, nor do I take any controlled substance. Marijuana, meth, heroin, cocaine, crack, E, pain killers, and so forth – I don’t touch them. I don’t need them and I do not prefer the idea of altering my perceptions as it tends to allow individuals people to fool my senses. That lack of control over my body is not desirable to me.
That said, I have nothing against anyone taking any of these substances, even to their own personal detriment, as long as it does not affect others negatively. That even goes for alcohol – be a drunk if you must, just don’t kill or hurt anyone in the process. Crack? Sure, if you think you don’t mind the negative effects of imbibing the substance, go right on ahead. Especially Marijuana though – it is as harmless a drug as nicotine or even more so. I have yet to find any solid evidence that it causes lung cancer like tobacco. Take anything you want, just keep it to yourself.
Part of the reason for this stance is that I am a political, economic and social pragmatist. I am fairly centered in my views. From that position, the issue of drug use is one that edges on the Liberal – Libertarian side of my thought process. Legalize and regulate within reason. People should be free to do what they wish to their bodies. The Government should be there to regulate the industry in regards to standards for the production and sale of the products.
The reason I bring this up is an article from the UK. Apparently, the Government there is re-opening the decisions on the legality of drugs there after a 10 year gap. An article on the matter provides the opinion that these substances should be legal as it would decrease crime and increase revenue. See the article here: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/2012/01/24/drugs-laws-is-legalisation-an-acceptable-alternative-115875-23714663/
As I stated, I agree with this stance. The revenues would be a welcome addition to Government coffers, there would be less need for prisons and the components that go with that, the number of violent crimes would decrease, the amount of police to handle more serious crimes would increase, and criminal organizations that depend on the trafficking would find themselves without steady income.
Yes, that includes all manners of drugs. The current prohibitions have done nothing to curb use. Use has actually increased along with population so the “war” has been meaningless. Some argue that legalization would open the door for children to start taking them in mass amounts. That does not really make any sense – regular restrictions would govern the sale to minors and the regulation would have a chilling effect on the “cool” factor of use. You aren’t sticking it to the man when you do them – you are actually paying him for the privilege. The negatives of a few children using are more than negated by the benefits of eliminating the criminal organizations that use it as their funding model. Besides, kids can get them now about as easily. There are always going to be individuals who will do these things – legal or illegal will not matter. It is on their parent to indicate the difference of taking the drug or not.
The upshot is that something different needs to be done. The war on drugs has been waged for decades and it hasn’t made a single inch in progress. Billions are wasted on it and individuals are criminalized for puffing on the dried leaves of a plant. This would be fine if it worked, but it doesn’t work. It has never worked. It is a money pit, nothing more. Only lunatics keep trying the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Cut it off and try something new.