I’ve been taking a hiatus from writing for the past few months waiting for the political climate to cool off, but it has become clear that that won’t be happening any time soon. I felt a call to action recently to write about the coming problems in relation to personal choices of consciousness. I speak of the prison industrial complex and the never-ending drug war that continues to hold us back as a species.
Public face of Donald Trump, Sean Spicer, has come out swinging against the state measures to legalize Cannabis. He clearly stated on 2/23/17:
“I do believe you will see greater enforcement of it.”
It, being the legal grey of the DEA and DOJ ignoring state Cannabis laws that are violating the federal laws. This by itself was expected as Trump has made drugs a major part of the problems keeping America from being great, again. On the same day we saw our new Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the memo from former President Barack Obama to continue using private prisons. Private prison stocks rallied on the news excited on the prospect of a renewed zeal to line their pockets with federal government contracts and more inmates to increase their revenues.
As of this writing, we have spent over six billion dollars on both the Federal and State level combatting the war on drugs. Despite this spending, we are facing a global heroin epidemic, darknet markets continue servicing users, and people keep going to jail for not adhering to the sanctioned drugs of our society. The grand majority of these drug users are not violent cartel members. They are users just looking to have a good time privately and safely. But if you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time with certain substances in your possession, your life is about to take a drastic turn.
If you’re lucky and in some states, you pay a fine and go to some classes. If you’re unfortunate enough to be in the Phillipines there is a strong chance you can be gunned down by the government simply for being a drug user. Neither of these approaches solves the problems related to taking drugs.
There are some points that need to be said because not everyone watches the Drug War in the same way that I and others do.
Prohibition has never worked on a large scale. Look back to the early 20th century and you will see the rise of Al Capone reaking havoc in an unregulated market. Today, you can see masses of people killed over drugs both in isolated incidents and cartel violence. We have over eighty years of data on the drug war, it has been plain to see that telling people not to do drugs simply does not work.
The Drug War allows the cartels to continue existing. Markets are simple, if there is a demand someone arrives to supply that demand and cash in. Drugs have been popular since the dawn of humankind and they will not stop being popular because Donald Trump is in the white house. By leaving drugs unregulated and illegal it makes the cartels the judge jury and executioner for all “in house” business. It also facilitates capital flight as our money goes to Cartels in foreign countries instead of staying domestic.
Drug addiction is a medical issue. Some people use alcohol and need help. Some people use heroin and need help. Some people simply use their drugs of choice and go about their day in moderation. Legalizing drugs and taxing them heavily would allow us to fund social services for addicts and safe places for use.
Private industries should not reap profits from a broken and corrupt system. Locking drug users and distributors in jail only provides profits for private prisons, wrecks lives, and destroys families. It does little to help the drug users and keep them out of jail. Once you enter the prison system you are fare more likely to re-offend than not. It robs you of your time, money, and very life only to release you onto the streets with no means to rebuild your life.
Building a wall and cracking down on illegal drug use will bolster illegal profits. Cartels are not made up of morons, they are powerful wealhy entities that continually send products over the border. Some of their shipments will get caught, but many shipments will get through. Every time you see the DEA showing the world the one hundred kilo bust they found at a port, another thousand kilos are coming in through other means.
Bringing the illegal drug market into the light from the dark alleys allows greater safety and control. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and purchase your drug of choice and have it be medical grade, with warnings, dosage labeling, and tools for safe use along with it. No more fentanyl overdoses. No more recreational drug users being given tainted drugs at a music festival and subsequently overdosing because their unregulated supplier gave them dirty drugs.
Drug dealers don’t check ID. If you are a worried parent stressing over the idea of your child having access to heroin or meth, then consider that by keeping them illegal your child will have easier access. Everyone at school has that one friend who knows a guy. They don’t check ID, they simply collect the money and move onto their next sale.
Almost every single problem associated with drugs is in fact caused by the prohibition. We keep them illegal, so people continue to profit from them being illegal. The Cartel leaders love our drug war because they are unlikely to ever get caught and continue making money.
If we end this pathetic policy blunder that has continued on for too long, we gain massive tax revenues, free up police time for real crimes, and disempower the cartels globally.
The major problem standing in our way is that people cannot envision a world of legal drug use, even as they pop aspirin, drink alcohol, and smoke tobacco. They hear the news about overdoses,raves, meth-heads, and bad decisions made on drugs. Those do happen, it cannot be avoided. But they can be mitigated greatly while providing financial support to do harm reduction on a large scale. If rehab was free many would take advantage of it and clean their lives up. Managing the normal behavior of humans should not be a profitable criminal matter for private companies. It must be a non-profit medical issue with transparency and regulation. Tax these drugs and build a safer community for the people who choose to engage in their use.
We’ve tried everything in our history in relation to the drug war, except decriminalizing and legalizing. Decriminalizing has worked in other countries and can work in ours. We must try a new way to handle the problems of the masses or we will continue another half century of pain and suffering by the poorest people in society. The War on Drugs is a war on personal freedom and liberty to do what you want with your own person. Drugs can be fun and safe, but they can cause harm if not used responsibly with intent and knowledge of their power.