Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ending Prohibition

Culture 11 has a couple of excellent articles condemning drug prohibition: War on Drugs: The Price Tag by Anita Bartholomew and War On Drugs: The Collateral Damage by Radley Balko.

There's also a pro prohibition article called Keeps Drugs Illegal! but I found the arguments contained within very weak. The best part was a quip in the comments regarding the contention that legalization wont diminish the violence associated with the black market but I'll save you the trouble of looking it up.

"This is why I often see executives from Jack Daniels executing drive-by shootings at Jim Beam corporate headquarters. Wait... I don't see that at all."

Don't take me wrong, I do agree with most people that many drugs are dangerous and all should be kept away from children. I also agree that drug abuse is a problem. Where I disagree is in how we approach the problem.

The current 'drug war' approach is attempting to eliminate the problem by forcefully curtailing availability and creating a disincentive via the threat of incarceration. This works to a degree but it has a major flaw. It assumes the war is winnable and it's not.

People will always be looking for an easy path to happiness and it's profitable to facilitate that connection. That will never change. The fact that we live in a relatively free society makes that connection even easier. It will be a never ending war where the only winner will be the drug dealers who don't get caught and the police forces, prison operators and lawyer who get job security for life. It's a twisted codependency of rivals.

I think it's time we break that cycle and try a new approach.
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