The drug war is lost & it always was


I realize we’re supposed to say drugs are bad, you shouldn’t do them, yada-yada-yada. We’ll they can be bad; I’ve seen more people fuck up on alcohol than just about every other vice or leisure activity combined. But if there’s one drug that is clearly in its own class as far as producing a pleasurable psychoactive effect without extracting too high a price, it has to be marijuana. Anyone who has been around drugs in general and pot specifically knows this.

It seems majority of the American people, sans one group, are finally coming around to that view as well:

HuffPo — For the first time, more than half of Americans think that marijuana usage should be made legal, according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday. Fifty-eight percent of Americans now back legalizing marijuana. That represents an 8-point increase from the previous record of 50 percent in 2011, and a 10-point increase from November 2012, just after Colorado and Washington voted for legalization.

“With Americans’ support for legalization quadrupling since 1969, and localities on the East Coast such as Portland, Maine, considering a symbolic referendum to legalize marijuana, it is clear that interest in this drug and these issues will remain elevated in the foreseeable future,” wrote Art Swift, Gallup’s managing editor.

A few years ago when pot was legalized for medical use in Colorado, a couple I knew moved from their yuppy Dallas lifestyle to reap the political winds and hydroponic harvest. They were both corporate lawyers making a cool 300k between them, but money can’t buy happiness and they had a dream. The funny thing is, this year they’re on track to make a million bucks growing pot, most of which they render into solid and liquid forms for drinking or eating. Isn’t democratic capitalism great?

Before anyone assumes I’m a huge pothead, it always gave me borderline panic attacks, I don’t smoke pot much if ever. But I think all drugs ought to be legal, including crack and heroin. It’s not because they’re safe and non-addictive, most are clearly a risk behavior and some are quite physically addictive. I happen to know from personal experience that rock climbing, SCUBA diving, wakeboarding, and jumping out of airplanes or off of towers and bridges are all expensive, addictive, and dangerous, because I’ve done all those things, gotten hooked on them, spent a lot of money of them, and been hurt in one way or another doing them.

I knew people who were killed doing some of that, I know people who dropped out of life, quit their job, cashed in their retirement, and screwed up relationships doing that stuff. But I don’t know a single person who got into serious hock or blew their mortgage payment on a skydiving rig bought from the Mexican mafia at 50 times what it really cost to make, or had to sneak into the back-door of a doctor’s office, or face down a 12 hour shift on their untreated broken leg, because of something that happened high up on El Cap over the weekend.

I don’t know a single case of someone being spied on or having their conversations tapped by the police, to head off a black market buy for flippers and a diving mask. Because the lifestyle and consequences for getting hurt or spending money on those activities does not include court fines or jail time, those who pursue them are not demonized and shamed.

Needless to say, there is one partisan group that’s an outlier, that is lost in the weeds so to speak marching to the tune of a different and uninspired drummer. Can you guess which group that might be?







  1. says

    But I think all drugs ought to be legal, including crack and heroin.

    I used to believe this too, but I’ve changed my mind. Prohibition has proven a bad joke, but legalization has its own problems — the most superficial of which is the question of what happens to our prescription-drug system. If crack and heroin are legal, it would seem kinda silly if you still need a prescription to get prednizone — so does that dangerous side-effect-ridden shit get sold OTC too?

    Afger legalizing weed (and maybe hashish, which is derived from weed and gives the same high), I think the best policy is to keep prohibition on the books, but de-emphasize it in favor of education, treatment and rehab; and direct the cops to prioritize their targets: violent drug-dealers are prioritized over non-violent; international over domestic; importers over local growers; and dealers who sell to kids over those who only sell to adults.

  2. bryanfeir says

    The last time marijuana decriminalization (not even legalization, just reducing possession to a misdemeanor) got brought up in Canada, we pretty much got threatened with trade sanctions by the U.S. This was back in Jean Chrétien’s time, though Martin brought it up again.

    I’m reminded of a story about smuggling across the eastern Québec-Maine border, where law enforcement on both sides of the border were complaining that the other side wasn’t taking the problem seriously. That’s because the U.S. side was more concerned about marijuana being smuggled across the border, while the Canadian side was more concerned about cigarettes being smuggled across the border (without the appropriate import duties being paid on it first).

  3. atheist says

    If you assume the Drug War is a war on drugs, then of course it is a failure. If you assume the Drug War is a great way for corporations to profit from prison labor, and a stealthy way to imprison blacks, then I think you have to say it’s a success.

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