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War On Drugs Is A Massive Waste Of Taxpayers $

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CN BC: PUB LTE: War On Drugs Is A Massive Fraud On Taxpayers


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URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v13/n374/a08.html

Newshawk: Herb

Votes: 0

Pubdate: Fri, 02 Aug 2013

Source: Richmond Review, The (CN BC)

Copyright: 2013 Black Press

Contact: http://drugsense.org/url/P92NTYdG

Website: http://drugsense.org/url/WcGUPNub

Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/704

Author: Ian MacLeod






On marijuana criminalization, we are still asking the wrong question.  It should not be "is marijuana harmful?" ( it may well be ) but rather "is prohibition causing more harm that it cures? ( certainly, yes ).


I am in no way advocating for the use of drugs ( I am an aging baby boomer, I don't use drugs, don't smoke, and only occasionally even drink alcohol ).  However, the so called "war on drugs" is a massive fraud on taxpayers, parents and the addicted.


It causes much more harm than it cures.  The "war" funds organized crime, funds terrorists and uses our taxes to pay thousands of police, lawyers and prison guards ( financially, all on the same side as the criminals-ironic, huh! ) and builds massive disrespect for the law amongst our young people and, for all that, does little to curb drug use.


Cynicism also grows, because our youth well knows that perhaps half of the baby boomers-today's lawmakers-on the polls, experimented with marijuana or other drugs in their youth ( even if they didn't inhale! ).  Under our so-called "justice", the only reason those lawmakers are not rotting in jail is blind luck or money.


As to the war on drugs, it is tough to think of any rational basis for the war, on at least four levels:


1.  Cost/benefit: The perfect outcome would probably be that people didn't use drugs.  But that is not going to happen.  Voltaire said, almost 250 years ago, "the perfect is the enemy of the good." Well, that is what is happening here.


Just saying drugs are harmful is really myopic.  Of course they are-some more so that others, and some based on the individual and on the dosages and frequencies of use.  But if the "remedy" is more harmful than the harm, then only a blind ideologue will persist in pursuing that failing remedy.


Any college first year business student knows that when you have a problem, you look at the solution options, and choose the one, on balance, with the best benefit.  For the smaller benefit of "trying" to reduce drug use, we have an ideologically driven machine that causes more harm ( taxes; lives of experimenting kids destroyed by the law - not the drug use; growing cynicism for any respect for the law; funding organized crime and terrorists; street gangs; shootings; minimal addiction services; and on and on ) than any possible benefit ( a few less using drugs ).  Even any amateur problem solver should be able to see that.


2.  Principal: maybe we should step back and ask why we even have the prohibition on drugs.  Admittedly, they can be harmful ( although, with some, probably not to the level of political hype ).  But so are cigarettes and alcohol harmful ( each killing thousands every year ), and junk foods and cars that can drive at over 110km per hour ( the maximum in Canada ).  So why do we ban marijuana and not the others.  Why does the government feel it must the private activities of adults.  It is really only ideology or the power of the vested interests, not any rational principal.


3.  Supply/demand: The whole war on drugs is driven by the premise that if you control supply, you will beat the problem.  But it isn't supply side driven -it is demand side driven.  As long as the demand exists, someone will supply it.  As the "war" escalates, illegal profits skyrocket, further increasing the motive to supply.  Prohibition didn't work with alcohol, why would it now.


4.  Harm reduction: The theory seems to be that trying to reduce supply, we are protecting the users or possible users.  All that means is that there is no quality control.  And the ideologues aren't willing to fund adequate rehab services.  So, in fact, the war is increasing the harm.


I think that any complete analysis would show that if we diverted the massive funds now spent on police, courts and prisons to education and rehab services, we would be both financially and socially much better off.  The education approach has certainly worked with tobacco.


The perverse and unintended consequence of the war against marijuana was to make everything much, much worse.


Ian MacLeod



MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom


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