Americans should have right to decide what substances to use
President Bush, in the guise of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, has chosen to further demonize those who use illegal drugs by accusing them of funding terrorism. I suppose that he is correct, and I’m certain that his accusations are politically expedient, but I believe that he completely misses the point.
For almost 50 years, we, the citizens of the “land of the free,” have allowed our government to decide what substances we are not allowed to ingest. For about half of that time, The War Against The American People (aka “The War Against Drugs”) has attempted to enforce the notion that we cannot make those decisions for ourselves.
A similar war on the drug alcohol was fought in the 1920s, when the manufacture and distribution of “intoxicating liquors” was prohibited. Prohibition made criminals of millions of citizens who were not deterred from obtaining sometimes-deadly alcohol from bootleggers who were willing to risk breaking the law in order to reap huge profits. Also, the government’s revenue stream previously provided by taxes on alcohol was lost.
That revenue stream was recovered when Prohibition was repealed in the 1930s. Bootlegging stopped immediately, as there was no longer sufficient profit in it, and that source of mobsters’ income dried up. Citizens who chose to drink alcohol were no longer criminals. Perhaps most importantly, the ability to control the quality of alcohol products, how they are distributed, and who may legally obtain and consume them was restored.
Today’s war against drugs is simply another Prohibition that makes criminals of those who would otherwise be law-abiding. It provides a lucrative business for gangsters and terrorists and provides no way to control the quality of these substances that too often kill their consumers. Worst, it provides no means to keep them out of the hands of the young and of those who have proven they cannot be trusted to use them responsibly.
I believe that it is time for Americans to realize that being illegal is the root of many problems associated with illegal drugs. Let’s get together and discuss it over drinks.
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