The War On Drugs

Radley Balko has a really solid piece on the war on drugs up at Culture 11, and really, this line says it all:

When Richard Nixon first uttered the phrase “war on drugs” in 1971, he chose his words carefully.

You can also watch Radley debate the topic at Bloggingheadstv:

Have not watched it all yet myself, but I will listen to it later on today at some point. Freddoso’s argument mainly seems to be that bad guys will just find something else to do if we end the drug war.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit

43 replies
  1. 1
    cleek says:

    alas, describing the problem with the War On Drugs is about all we can do. it is just one of those things where the govt is unable to dial-back the abuses because the appearance of being soft, rightly or wrongly, is electoral poison.

  2. 2
    Evolutionary says:

    @cleek: Cleek is probably right but I do have some hope. Many Cops are becoming clear-eyed about the drug war insanity.

  3. 3
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    The war on drugs is a war on people, not drugs. Drugs are not getting locked up, people are. I went through my own personal hell in a drug bust back in the 80’s and the whole thing was a sick, sad joke. I didn’t knuckle under and blame all of my problems on the drugs, I took responsibility for my actions and I refused the play their game. I fought with a pre-sentencing evaluator who kept telling me how bad my life was because of drugs. I asked her what she knew of my life and she pointed out the miserable position I was in. I pointed out that it was the law that put me in that miserable position. I had a full time job as a marine electrician and rigger that I had spent years at, I was getting married and was a registered voter who had stayed out of trouble with the law up to that point.

    My life was fine until the law stepped in. The police talked to my employer, who initially fired me but quickly regretted that move when they found out that my bust had nothing to do with my job. Plus the fact that I had several prototypes that I had not committed to paper and they had decided to go with two of them after the boat show. Some problem, eh? I returned to work but I made them pay for it. I got a good raise and a promotion to go with it, so in that regard I guess the bust paid off. ;)

    For three appointments the pre-sentencing evaluator and I butted heads repeatedly until I told her that I would have walked out on her except that she would report to the judge that ‘drugs made me do it’, so instead I was going to sit there arguing with her until my face turned blue but I was not going to play their ‘game’. When it came to the day for sentencing she told the judge that I was "nominally addicted" and "would not be amenable to treatment". In other words, I was the exception to their rule.

    I could have been given a year and I got 90 days in work release. I drove every day without a license and even got a ticket before I was released, I returned to jail stoned out of my gourd every evening, punched the vending machines for dinner every night or ate every morning and evening of each work day during the two hours they gave me to get one+ mile to work or the two hours they gave me to get back at night. Since I was the shift manager where I worked, I set my hours and you can bet that I got a lot of overtime and that I spent the bare minimum in work release. I never turned a check over to them, I paid my ‘rent’ in cash, another violation of the rules.

    The whole mess was stupid from the start to the finish. The case was a joke, the trial violated my right to a speedy trial. The judge determined that it would have been "prejudicial to the prosecution to dismiss the case" even though I never waived my rights and they even violated the 14 day exclusionary rule. The pre-sentencing ‘investigation’ was a joke and work release was a joke.

    All I learned from that encounter is that the war on drugs is a war on people. The drugs are just a distraction.

    Oh, and you should have been there when I turned myself in to work release. They didn’t have the paperwork and I had been dropped off as I was not sure about showing up with a car and no license. There I am, ready to do my time and the idiots lost the paperwork. It took another three weeks to straighten that out.

    I am white and I got busted for manufacturing a controlled substance with intent to distribute (growing weed) and for possession of cocaine. If I had been black I believe that my story would have been a completely different one.

    This is a war on people, as all wars are. It is NOT a war on drugs.

  4. 4
    paragonpark says:

    There is a good deal of truth to the argument that "bad guys" would just engage in some other crime to make money if the black market in drugs were eliminated.

    There is indeed a "criminal class" for whom drug trafficking is simply a commercial enterprise, and most of that class woulkd likely simply find different criminal enterprises which are profitable. But, so many of the people caught up in the "War on Drugs" are not engaging in drug trafficking because they see a lucrative market but because they are unable to afford their own drug habits without engaging in lower-level drug dealing. A major problem with the current approach is that these are the people who are easiest to catch and therefore the most likely to be prosecuted and subjected to the draconian sentencing laws.

    The "criminal class" folks are shrewder and more insulated from the reach of law enforcement than the poor crackhead selling half his 8-ball on the corner so he can pay for his next one. For every member of the "criminal class" who is making big money selling drugs who gets caught and prosecuted there are dozens of pathetic souls who who get caught and sentenced to long prison terms because they can’t get off drugs and the only way to afford them is to sell some too.

  5. 5
    J says:

    Wow, it’s creepy how much Radley Balko looks like Lex Luthor.

  6. 6
    R-Jud says:


    A major problem with the current approach is that [users who deal to afford their next hit] are the people who are easiest to catch and therefore the most likely to be prosecuted and subjected to the draconian sentencing laws.

    … and then, in prison, they will be exposed to the harder cases. And sometimes pick up a few new tricks from them when and if they’re ever dumped back on the street (all of which Balko points out in his op/ed, but I’ve seen this first-hand with an old HS buddy: he went in to prison for growing some weed and came out not only addicted to heroin, but ready to steal old ladies’ dental fillings to buy it).

    There will always be criminals, poor people, and junkies. But I think it’s evident that with the WoD we are breeding a lot more of them than there naturally would be by criminalizing (and ruining the economic prospects of) recreational users and medicinal users, too.

  7. 7
    rustydude says:

    Fredosso looks like a young guy. Why didn’t he sign up for the Iraq War to fight terrorism instead of playing dilletante on the Corner?

    Umm… nevermind.

  8. 8
    Kirk Spencer says:

    I keep coming back to the same argument in the end.

    On a point for point basis in regards to health, the societal negatives from addiction, and the actual addictive strength (physical and mental), what is the difference between our legal and illegal drugs? Why are alcohol and tobacco legal while marijuana is not? Why should cocaine and meth be illegal while vodka and bourbon are not?

    Controlled? Oh, sure, I agree they should be controlled – just like tobacco and alcohol. You can get hammered for being drunk while working, surely the same rule would apply for being stoned in the same situation. But …

    I have never found a report of a stoner, out of his mind on an all night binge of marijuana, beating his wife to death and then smashing his car into on-coming traffic after a high-speed chase.

  9. 9
    gex says:

    Bad guys will always find ways to be bad guys. Doesn’t seem much of an argument to continue to wage war on citizens.

    I suspect this is much like the gay marriage conundrum, where the demographics will need to change to have any movement on the issue. There’s only so long old white people will be able to indiscriminately incarcerate young black people for things people of all groups do.

  10. 10
    kay says:

    There’s the first hit, the arrest of the parents, and then the second hit, their kids are removed, because there’s no one to care for them. Meth is produced in homes, and both parents are there, so both get picked up and charged. The sentences are long, two years or better, and a sentence that long triggers a "permanent loss of parental rights", the general guideline is 12 out of 22, so child in foster care 12 out of 22 months, permanent loss of parental rights.
    I get those kids when they end up in the juvenile system. That’s the third collateral result.
    There’s a new idea. Drug courts. They’re working, too. It’s a narrowly focused public health approach, and it can mitigate the collateral damage.

  11. 11
    paragonpark says:

    Objectively viewed, alcohol is probably the most dangerous "recreational" drug in existence. In terms of acute effects it is probably more dangerous (phyisically and in terms of societal costs) than even heroin with the sole exception it is easier to ingest a lethal dose of heroin than of alcohol. The chronic effects of long-term alcohol abuse are as severe or more severe than the Schedule I and II drugs.

    Marijuana, objectively viewed, is probably the least dangerous "recreational" drug.

    All of these drugs are health and safety problems and policies discouraging usage are not without merit.

    The issue is in cost/benefit terms do the negative impacts of prohibitions exceed the positive impacts. For marijuana, it is hard to make any valid case that the costs of prohibition do not exceed the benefits.

    For more dangerous drugs, the calculus is more problematic as the costs of abuse are indisputably very high. but, as we learned with alcohol, despite the very high costs of abuse, prohibition did not meet a primary objective of substantially lessening abuse so all the costs of prohibition have to be considered in light of the ineffectiveness of the policy. If prohibtions actually worked, they would be much easier to defend.

    As it is we have to look at the enrichment and power enhancement of the criminal class, the loss of liberty and freedom of individuals, etc. as very high costs that are not offset by any evidence that the prohibitions do much to "save" people from a life of misery due to substance abuse.

    Alcohol kills many people and endangers or ruins many lives, but we learned that prohibition failed to prevent that and that it enriched and enhanced the power of a criminal class.

    Some problems are insoluble. In some instances all government can do is refrain from making a bad situation worse. It’s impossible to identify a "good" policy to deal with the harm caused by substance abuse, but it is possible to identify failed policies.

  12. 12
    R-Jud says:


    child in foster care 12 out of 22 months, permanent loss of parental rights

    This is the main trickle-down effect of the WoD on poorer schools, in my experience– more so than drug-related violence or gang activity. I had several foster kids whose parents were either drug users or dealers blow through my classroom when I was teaching. The extra time, effort, and legwork needed to bring those kids in line with their classmates– whose own educations suffer when teacher’s energy is diverted– is immense. Just when you are making progress, the poor kids are shuffled off to some other foster parent in another school catchment area, and they have to start all over again. As do you, and the students still with you.

  13. 13
    kay says:

    Just when you are making progress, the poor kids are shuffled off to some other foster parent in another school catchment area, and they have to start all over again.

    I’m so glad you’re a teacher and you recognize the hurdle they have. Teachers are one of my most profitable contacts, as far as useful information. You spend so much time with them, and they talk to you, and you hear them talking to classmates. I can get more out of a high school teacher in 15 minutes than I can from the juvenile in 4 weeks, and I’m the defense. I’m begging them to give me a defense, and it takes 4 visits before they’ll make eye contact. They trust no one, and that’s rational and completely understandable.

  14. 14
    MikeJ says:

    Marijuana, objectively viewed, is probably the least dangerous "recreational" drug.

    I would have said caffeine and possibly sugar.

  15. 15
    magisterludi says:

    Since marijuana laws were first initiated to discriminate against Mexicans settling in the western states and "negro jazz musicians" in the eastern states, maybe there’s a constitutional case to repeal them?

    The editorials of the day, championed by WR Hearst and his vast influence, lay out the case very well.

  16. 16
    shecky says:

    Freddoso does some weird moves out of the gate claiming violent crime in the 20s was caused by having more guns. It just blows my mind that a National Review conservative would have the balls and/or cluelessness to make this claim, counter to decades of pro gun culture-war dogma that says more guns do not cause crime, but deters crime.

    His NR posts were usually highlighted for their pretzel logic, but even I have a hard time believing he’s so poorly versed in contemporary conservative thought that he’s never heard anyone say "Guns don’t kill people; people kill people."

  17. 17
    Hob says:

    And you probably know this but: alcohol is one of only two classes of recreational drugs where going cold turkey can actually kill you, rather than just make you wish you were dead. The other is benzodiazepines, and I don’t see any War on Valium.

  18. 18

    I am white and I got busted for manufacturing a controlled substance with intent to distribute (growing weed) and for possession of cocaine. If I had been black I believe that my story would have been a completely different one.

    I would say this is more about war on the working class and poor. Sure race plays a part but our justice system is NOT about fairness. It is about who you can afford to pay to defend you if you are on the wrong side of the law. To wit: John Delorean. Almost every other person caught up in exactly the same nationwide sting setup by the Feds was sent to the Federal penitentiary. Delorean was acquitted. Why? He had the MONEY to hire enough lawyers to wear down the prosecutors. The government has a lot more prosecutorial resources than most people have the financial means to overcome.

    Had OJ Simpson been just another kid from the hood and murder those two people who would have been awaiting execution in San Quentin. Sure he benefited from jury nullification but had he not had the wherewithal to hire a top flight legal team he would not have been in the position to be the benefactor of that nullification.

    You get the justice you can afford to pay for. Period.

    Drugs (every last one of them) should be legal. The government should stay out of our private lives. If I want to sit in my house get drunk, stoned, ripped, and shoot beer cans with my firearm then I should be able to do it. When I get drunk, stoned and ripped, take that firearm to rob a bank then I should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    Legalizing drugs (all of them) will cause a few problems in the beginning. So what. Treatment is still cheaper than throwing people in jail and ruining the rest of their lives because they are now felons. Jesus! Why do we need a bunch of puritanical fuck-faces from the government telling us we can’t get high and who we can have sex with or marry?

    Call me a radical liberal on these issues, but I really do believe the government has NO place in our private lives. I just want to be left alone.

  19. 19
    Andrew says:

    I would have said caffeine and possibly sugar.

    You’ve obviously never been in a room with a bunch of 8 year olds who got into a case of mountain dew.

    Stoners are much, much easier to deal with.

  20. 20
    Cris says:

    For a well-written overview of the history of the War on Drugs, I recommend Dan Baum’s 1997 book Smoke and Mirrors.

  21. 21
    Andrew says:

    I also think that all drugs should be legal, even to the point of the government subsidizing heroin dens for junkies, because the costs to society would be far less than the war on drugs. Hell, taxing pot alone would probably bring in billions of dollars in revenue.

  22. 22
    Comrade Stuck says:

    More and more states are opting for private prisons and that means the "War on Drugs" has gone public and must keep the inmates rolling in to boost the bottom line. That means lobbyists and demagogue politicians maintaining stupid and expensive laws for taxpayers. It’s just bidness and bidness is good.

  23. 23
    MikeJ says:

    You’ve obviously never been in a room with a bunch of 8 year olds who got into a case of mountain dew.

    We must end the plague of second hand sugar.

  24. 24
    kay says:

    The funniest part is they aren’t anti-drug, the members of this huge law enforcement/social services system. Once in the system, they diagnose everyone with one or another disorder, and treat with prescription drugs, as part of a case plan. It’s so prevalent it screws up the mandatory testing for illegal drugs, because some of the prescriptions mimic illegal drugs markers, and show up in urine. They’re bringing in prescription bottles as a defense to testing dirty in family court proceedings, where child custody is determined.
    So, we’re not anti-drug. We’re not promoting drug-free living. We’re medicating them, and telling they can’t self-medicate.

  25. 25
    Shinobi says:

    I found it interesting when David Freddoso argued that people who live in neighborhoods where drugs are sold or prostitutes walk the streets are victims of these crimes.

    I would argue that we are in fact victims of the prohibition of these things. If a prostitute could sell her charms legally then she wouldn’t have to stand on the street corner, she could have her own little shop, and not be victimized by her pimp. If the guys who sell drugs on my street could sell them legally they wouldn’t be doing it next to my house, they’d have a store, or they probably would not be selling drugs at all, they might get a real job.

  26. 26
    Howie says:

    War on Tobacco!

    It just seems to me that even discussing this is silly at the moment that the left and right are busy doing the preliminary steps to outlawing tobacco. The same lefty’s that cry out for legal medical cannabis rail against evil tobacco.

    As a libertarian leaning member of the right. I’m all for ending this war. But lets face it. The financial aspects are overwhelming. The drug war has been knit into th3e funding fabric of law enforcement. Demonstrated by the Fraternal Order of Police coming out in favor of a proposed decriminalization of cannabis in Nevada, three days later after they realized all they would miss all that fine money and federal grants that support their paychecks they wisened up a bit.

    Its a sad state of affairs, but any logical improvements in policy, such as say taxing and regulating cannabis in a similar manner to alcohol will never ever happen. The parties all have a vested interest in keeping the flow of money and jobs as they are now.

    I’d not look for any more libertarian type movement in the future. Rather more movement towards more restrictions, regulations and prohibitions. Tobacco is next in say less than 20 years. No doubt soon after that, the alcohol prohibition disaster will be mostly forgotten and they will begin to toy with that idea once more.

    Not for any moral reasons, but because that’s the natural progression of the beast that is the government. But I’m sure at the time it will be "for the protection of the children.

    Sigh. Make your money and stake out your part of the last patches of rural freedom now. For soon it will be all that is left and eventually it will all be gone.


  27. 27
    MikeJ says:

    The same lefty’s that cry out for legal medical cannabis rail against evil tobacco.

    I’m also in favour of death with dignity laws but oddly enough I don’t think you should be able to go into a workplace and give a lethal overdose of barbiturates to your waitress. Yes, I’m just a big ole meanie hypocritical liberal.

  28. 28
    TenguPhule says:

    The same lefty’s that cry out for legal medical cannabis rail against evil tobacco.

    1. Tobacco has no medical value.

    2. 95% of Smokers are assholes.

    3. No smoking weed in the house either, wear a self-enclosed helmet!

  29. 29
    Tim in SF says:

    I hesitated before reading this thread of comments. The drug war is so oppressive to our civil liberties I get unreasonably upset just thinking about it.

    The wrong people are in charge of the world. Even Obama is bad on this issue.

    I try to think of ways to end the "War on Drugs" and the more I think about it, the more I get the eerie feeling of being constricted, like I’m in a straight jacket.

    I hate the drug war. It is always wrong. It produces nothing good. It is a supposed "cure" which does far, far more damage to America (and Americans) than the drugs themselves. Think about that. Like curing a stomach ache with chemotherapy.

  30. 30
    TenguPhule says:

    Drugs (every last one of them) should be legal.

    I disagree.

    PCP and ICE should never EVER be legalized. Ever maker of them should be put into enforced public servitude for life.

  31. 31
    TenguPhule says:

    Legalizing drugs (all of them) will cause a few problems in the beginning. So what

    That attitude only lasts until you become one of the victims of the "so whats".

    Making it easier for stupid people to be stupid never works well in the long run.

    So yeah.

  32. 32
    TenguPhule says:

    If prohibtions actually worked, they would be much easier to defend.

    Half the problem is the ease of manufacture. Starch or Sugar + Fermenter = Booze. How do you enforce when literally almost anyone can make it?

  33. 33
    demimondian says:

    @TenguPhule: Um, actually, we do just that even now. I can make my 50 gal/person of each of beer and wine each year, but it’s quite illegal to distill any of it into fortified spirits — and you can be quite confident that BATF will come "have a chat" with you if they think you’re violating that regulation.

  34. 34
    Tim in SF says:

    The same lefty’s that cry out for legal medical cannabis rail against evil tobacco.

    I think there’s an obvious difference between banning a known carcinogen from the public square and saying you can’t smoke it in your home.

  35. 35
    paragonpark says:

    Well, as a practical answer you enforce it the same way youenforce all laws— very imperfectly.

    Laws don’t stop people from committing fraud, evadig taxes, beating their wives, stealing, raping, killing……

    The difference is most everyone still agrees that having laws forbidding those behaviors serves more good than bad. With drug prohibitions the basis for believing the laws serve more than good than bad is much more tenuous.

  36. 36
    The Raven says:

    A telling point on this subject, I think, came from uber-hippie philosopher Gregory Bateson, "In the alcoholic’s ‘battle with the bottle,’ just what is supposed to attain victory over what?" Seems to me that the drug "war" claps a violence problem atop an abuse problem. Krawk!

  37. 37
    mclaren says:

    The fascinating thing about the "war on drugs," which everyone knows is counterproductive and unsustainable and utterly insane yet continues for generation after generation, never-ending, ever-worsening, is that it’s just one of many different counterproductive and unsustainable and utterly insane behaviors America recognizes as completely nuts, yet which we continue generation after generation, ever-worsening, never-ending.

    Just tick off the crazy counterproductive unsustainable policies:

    * War on drugs
    * U.S. military spending
    * TSA
    * DHS
    * War on terror
    * Iraq war
    * Afghanistan war
    * militarization of police
    * world’s highest incarceration rate
    * destruction of the bill of rights
    * collapsing health care system with out-of-control costs
    * collapsing education system
    * outsourcing of all highly-paid middle class American jobs
    * love affair with gas-guzzling automobiles
    * the repeal of usury laws, which allows 400% interest rates on predatory title loans
    * out-of-control bank fees and credit card rates
    * crazy out-of-control CEO pay
    * strip mall suburban consumer culture in the face of $4-a-gallon gasoline
    * casino capitalism built on Ponzi schemes
    * oil-guzzling industrial farming
    * felonization of essentially every human activity, now including handing out cough drops in fourth grade.

    Any one of these crazy unsustainable counterproductive insane policies would be enough to eventually destroy America. But all of them together…?

    Yow. I look around at America, and see a spectacle akin to a guy playing Russian roulette while dousing himself with gasoline and flicking his Bic and jumping up and down on a high wire while stuffing a rattlesnake in his pants and whacking it with a stick.

  38. 38
    paragonpark says:

    I think it is hugely unwise, not to mention silly as can be, to tie a call for reform of drug policy into a sweeping and superficial condemenation of everything you don’t like. You will find just about everyone –including those who would agrree with you in many of the issues as discrete matters– tuning you out and dismissing you as a a crackpot.

  39. 39
    MikeJ says:

    Did we give up when the germans bombed pearl harbor?

  40. 40
    AnneLaurie says:

    There will always be criminals, poor people, and junkies. But I think it’s evident that with the WoD we are breeding a lot more of them than there naturally would be by criminalizing (and ruining the economic prospects of) recreational users and medicinal users, too.

    For the true Authoritarians, manufacturing a steady supply of "criminals, poor people and junkies" is a net positive result. Having an easily identifiable Outclass whose wretched lives render them disposable gives the "master class" cheap enforcement tools, while serving as a threat to keep the masses in line, and providing extra entertainment for the sadists so necessary to any effective authoritarian state.

  41. 41

    Related poll…my tongue in cheek poke at drug war.

    Flashback to the 1960’s


  42. 42
    Antinomian says:

    Debaters debate the two wars as if the civil war on drugs against Woodstock Nation did not yet run amok. Continuing the vendetta against all present at the peaceful public assembly of Woodstock Nation in August 1969, and their legions, cannot be good for the United States. We lead the world in percentile behind bars. If we are all about spreading liberty abroad, then why mix the message at home? Peace on the home front would enhance our credibility.

    The negative numbers that will have to be used to bottom-line our legacy to the next generation can be less ginormous. The witch-hunt doctor’s Rx is for every bust to numerate a bigger tax-load over a smaller denominator of payers. Spend more on prisons than on schools. My second witch’s opinion is homegrown herbal remedy. More consumer discretionary funds will flow to the rest of the economy when they are no longer depleted by an unnatural seller’s market in psychoactive substances.

    A clause about interstate commerce provides a pretext of constitutionality. Any excuse is better than none. So, how is that interstate commerce going? The mantra is eradicate, do not tax, the country’s number-one cash crop. Native flowers become as dear as gold. Gifted with margin to frustrate interdiction, peddlers’ bags do not carry coals to Newcastle. The founders’ purpose to authorize federal meddling in interstate commerce was not to divert tax revenue to outlaws. In 1933, America decided against substance prohibition in the case of the substance alcohol. Prohibitionists knew not to try to prohibit drugs by amendment. You don’t need any stinking amendment when you have a swat team.

    Old England coerced conformity on the puritan nonconformists, so they came to New England, rather than submit. The coercion of Quakers started in England in 1650 and raged for 39 years in Massachusetts. The Toleration Act of 1689 granted freedom of worship to Quaker nonconformists. Not much is new, as the war on drugs coerces conformity on a double-digit-demographic of defiant nonconformists.

    The 1641 Massachusetts Liberties [item 94.2] echoes the Mosaic Law that witches having or consulting a familiar spirit shall be put to death. In 1692, teenage girls caused 19 people, who their parents disliked, to hang. In 1693, the court stopped accepting invisible evidence. Gaols emptied. Fourteen years later, the leader of the accusers confided, “It was a great delusion of Satan that deceived me in that sad time, where I justly fear I may have brought upon myself and this land the guilt of innocent blood.”

    The scheduled substances have never had their day in court. Nixon promised to supply supporting evidence later. Later, the Commission evidence wasn’t supporting. No matter, civil war against Woodstock Nation had its charter. No amendments can assure due-process under an arbitrary law that never had any due-process itself. Marijuana has no medical use, period. Open and shut cases clog the kangaroo courts. Juries exclude peers. Lives are flushed down expensive tubes.

    The Controlled Substances Act is anti-science. Redundantly, there is no accepted use, nor will there ever be, when all use is not accepted. For example, LSD was hailed as a breakthrough for shining light into the subconscious, until the CSA halted research. America’s drug policy should seek light from the Beckley Foundation.

    The Religious Freedom Restoration Act restores choice of sacrament for the Native American Church to eat peyote. All Americans, without distinction of church, should be extended the same freedom, to select scheduled sacraments to mediate communion in the rituals even of single-member sects.

    To speak freely, one must first think freely. To create, one must be in a receptive mood. How could a bum such as I hope to achieve a great work such as ending a war? What was I smoking? The Constitution, as amended, does not enumerate any power to impede outside-the-box thinking or arbitrate states of consciousness. How and when did government acquire this power? Politicians who would limit cognitive liberty lack jurisdiction. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 preempts free speech, such as these addled words of mine.

    Common Law must hold that the people are the legal owners of their own bodies, including corporal components such as the various receptor sites. The people should have the same liberty to move about in their spiritual abodes as they have in their material apartments.

    The people have a right to get drunk in their apartments, be it folly or otherwise. Some may self-medicate to comply with the dictum of Socrates to know thy self. Those who appreciate their own free choice of personal path in life should not deny the same to others. Live and let live. The Declaration of Independence gets right to the point. The pursuit of happiness is a self-evident, God-given, inalienable, right of man. The war on drugs is a war on the pursuit of happiness.

    The books have ample law on them, without the CSA. The usual caveats, against injury to others, or their estates, remain in effect. Stronger medicines require a doctor’s prescription. Employees can be fired for poor job performance. People should be held responsible for damage caused by their screw-ups. No harm, no foul; and no excuse, either.

    The annual dollar cost of the war on drugs at federal, state and local levels totals what, only 50 or 100B USD? If anybody is counting, please share. There is no lower-hanging, riper, or higher-yielding budgetary fruit than to kick the addiction to the third war, cold turkey. Repeal the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

  43. 43
    Nancy Irving says:

    "…bad guys will just find something else to do if we end the drug war."

    Why don’t WE find THEM something else to do? Like, something legal. Something useful. Like good jobs.

Comments are closed.