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April 16, 2005

The War On Drugs « Social Issues »

The War on Drugs is ridiculous, counterproductive, useless, and waste all around. To stop the drug trade, you have to reduce demand. But all a dealer needs to do to increase demand is give a little of his product for free, and he gets a whole new customer base addicted. It's like trying to empty the ocean with a sieve.

So you have to greatly reduce supply, so you don't have people with lots of product to deal. But that's forcing a foreign country to change their ways; difficult at best, and nearly impossible when dealing with a jungled mountain area like that in Columbia.

But you can work on the weakest link: the dealers.

Here's what I'd do:
1) Legalize marijuana. It's really not much different than alcohol in terms of addictiveness, and few people commit crimes while stoned. Of course, if it does ever look like it might be legalized, I'm buying lots of stock in Frito-Lay's and other snack makers...
People argue against marijuana from the basis of it being a gateway drug: i.e., it may not be a problem, but it leads to usage of other, worse drugs. But I presume it is a gateway drug precisely because it is illegal. If someone smokes it and doesn't seem to be harmed or dangerous at all, because they are doing something illegal anyway, they might as well try some other stuff...
2) Keep all 'harder' drugs illegal. They are significantly different from alcohol and cigarettes in the addictability, and that means people who are hooked and can't get the product do commit crimes to get it. But you stop enforcing it, because most of these people are victims of the dealers who get them hooked. So you keep 'em illegal to send a message to kids, and so you have something else to smack people with if they do drive under the influence, or rob a store while high, etc.
2a) I could even see having a program where the govt hands out some harder drugs to an addict...but only in a locked cell that amounts to entry into a treatment program...I'll have to muse more on that.
3) Take out the dealers. Make it too expensive/difficult/painful to keep dealing. I'd support mandatory death sentences for all dealers, although I'd probably insist on an extremely high threshold for proving someone was a dealer, like getting caught in the act of selling. Just handing a joint to your younger sibling shouldn't count...maybe specific quantities? Although merely possessing large quantities shouldn't be enough, either.
At the very least, capital punishment for dealing should be an option.
That would allow us to slash the War on Drugs budget down to a 1/10th of what it already is, and yet still be quite a bit more effective.

Anyway, that's my $.02 worth.

Inspired by this post and this one.

Posted by Nathan at 06:52 AM | Comments (4)

Capital punishment for individuals convicted of dealing is an interesting idea to entertain.

You kinda lost me for a second on this one though:

" Just handing a joint to your younger sibling shouldn't count...maybe specific quantities?"

If marijuana is legalized, then dealing it wouldn't be a crime would it?

I suspect legalizing it would probably be followed with requirements to be able to sell it as with alcohol.

Anyway, I think capital punishment for those caught dealing in substances such as methamphetamines, cocaine, crack and other hard substances might just prove to be somewhat of a deterrent.

China and Thailand both have such policies when it comes to drugs. In China if you are caught with drugs it usually results in a life sentence. But if you are caught dealing drugs it's two pops to the back of the head.

hmmm..It is something to think about.

As for the Marijuana, I agree. Legalize it! It really isn't anymore dangerous than alcohol and if the government taxed it, they would probably get more money off of it than they do now through court fines and penalties.


Posted by: Gordon at April 16, 2005 08:08 PM

Capital punishment for dealers? Regardless of its effect on society, how can you rationalize giving the government the power to murder people for engaging in a personal transaction?

Posted by: Cutter at April 18, 2005 10:51 AM

By the fact that they murder people by making that transaction.

If it works, do it. If it doesn't work, stop.

We all have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but showing a blatant and blithe disregard for others' rights could be taken as a willing surrenduring of your own rights in that matter.

To simply make money, drug dealers have no problem getting other people addicted to powerful mind-altering substances. The addiction is often too powerful for the individual to break without help, even if they realize they have a problem (and often they don't).
Before that addiction can be broken, hundreds of lives can be affected adversely, or even ended...the kids who get neglected, the person whose belongings are stolen to "make the transaction", and the shop owner who is killed defending his property by the strung-out junkie needing cash to feed his addiction. There are others, too.
Personal rights are important, no doubt. Market freedom is important, no doubt. A coherent system of strong property rights is vital to the well-being of liberty. And the drug distribution system destroys all those things, while only paying lip service to them.

It is a transaction, yes...but it is a betrayal of the free-market system to have someone addicted to your product.
What I do with my own body is my right, and that's a cornerstone of libertarianism...but history demonstrates clearly that the vast majority of people under the influence of drugs like heroin, PCP, crystal meth, crack cocaine, etc, do not show concern for other peoples' bodies.

...and I'm rambling. But you get my point: principles are fine, but in the drug issue, a superficial "principles" argument is undermined by how most illegal drugs actually undermine the outcomes libertarian principles are attempting to establish.

Marijuana? Sure, let's legalize it.

Posted by: Nathan at April 18, 2005 03:02 PM

I agree, legalize weed!!!

Posted by: barkeep8 at April 19, 2005 09:50 AM
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