9.05.2004

The middle ground….Legalize Blow

Drug legalization. Should drugs, coke, pot, acid, ‘srooms be available next to Lucky Strikes and Miller beer?. Is it reasonable that we should decriminalize this. Yes, in my opinion the reduction in crime and prison occupancy for minor drug crimes alone justifies it.

Downside. More people would experiment with drugs if they were legal. This is an inescapable truth. Social unacceptability combined with criminal penalties and possible negative health aspects are what prevent more people from doing drugs. If we were to legalize drugs all three of these impediments would be removed or lessened.

Legal drugs would have the benefit of removing the drug trade as a viable criminal enterprise. The repeal of prohibition dealt a crushing blow the mobs involvement in liquor sales. True it still exists, but they mob pre-dated prohibition. The drug cartels fill very specific niches and are a direct result of the illicit drug trade. No more inner city drug gangs. But perhaps not all roses there, these gangs would likely try and live on, however without the funds that selling drugs brings in they would hopefully be a lot less powerful.

Should all drugs be legalized? The tendency is to say yes why not, but a little reflection is called for. Perhaps PCP and some other obviously dangerous ones should be banned. The important thing here would to have a legal substitute that people would use instead of seeking out the illegal. That is the key to drug legalization working, making users not want anything to do with the illicit vendors.

Taxes. An important consideration, the tax revenue generated by the sale of drug receipts should be split into several uses, but one should be drug treatment and recovery programs. An ironic situation perhaps, using the revenue from selling drugs to help people to stop using them. Most people are not alcoholics, most people would likely dnot become crack addicts.

What about the serious junkies? The crack-heads that would kill you for five bucks to buy a rock? A real problem, and one of the hardest to deal with. To me the major upside of drug legalization would be towards reducing crime, and taking the stigma off the casual user, that still leaves the problem of the hard-core addicts to deal with. I suspect we will have to find a way to deal with them regardless of the legality of drugs. Will we have more crack-heads if we legalize drugs? I don’t think so.

I think that drug use will go up, but mostly among casual users, and experimenters. Most people are too focused on their lives to spend all their time doing drugs. Addiction is a psychological trait, there are people that are going to get addicted to drugs whether the drugs are legal or not. What we would hopefully do is not sell crack, and use the purchasing power and policing community to limit its availability, plus why deal with a shady corner dealer when you can walk down the block and get the good shit from the government store?

Is there a moral problem with the government selling drugs? No, not as long as we allow the sale of alcohol and cigarettes. They are squarely in the same category as the currently illegal drugs.

At the end of the day I think that I come down in favor of legalizing drugs, there would be some issues to work out, but I think that the benefits would outweigh the negatives.