Monday, April 16, 2012

If what you're doing isn't working, keep doing it. - Harper

At the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, Stephen Harper conceded that the war on drugs isn't working, which strongly suggests a continued and vigorous prosecution of the war on drugs.  The failure of the war on drugs has been so obvious for so long, and drug policy has remained so obviously ineffective for so long, that there is no reason to expect anything to change.

What we're in denial about as a society is that using drugs appropriately is pleasurable, just like using sex appropriately is pleasurable.  And we don't prosecute people as criminals for adultery, so we shouldn't prosecute people as criminals for abusing drugs.  Making mistakes is easy.  Eating too much chocolate cake is easy.  When we criminalize the drug abusing behavior we perpetrate a secondary harm that is commonly more harmful than the behavior itself.

So getting arrested for possession of pot is more harmful to a human life than using pot.  And the fact that people are dying over pot, killing each other over the illegal profits, is as stupid as people killing each other over chocolate cake.  Let's stop it.  Let's stop criminalizing the behavior.  Let's stop criminalizing the supply chain.  Let's stop declaring war on people and things and start helping them instead. 

Where I live there is no market for illegal booze.  A kid walking down a street in my city has an easier time buying a joint than buying a beer.   Making something illegal makes a thing artificially scarce, which drives up the price, which drives up the profit, which is a gift to criminals, which is a gift to enforcement agencies, which is how our current system works; paradoxically promoting the thing it's intended to prevent.

Aren't the real criminals the people, like Harper, who know what's going on, who see the harm, who can do something about it and don't, even when the leaders of a variety of ostensibly friendly nations want to talk about change and want to talk about solutions?  We are the fat cats, and we are corrupt, and we are hurting ourselves by maintaining this silly status quo.

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