February 06, 2010

Change We Need-Drug Legalisation

First off, I do not use heroin, crack cocaine, crystal meth, ecstacy, hashish, or any other "illegal" drug. As a Freeman, the word illegal is meaningless to me anyway. I merely wanted to point out that I don't have a dog in this race. As I am a Libertarian, (a fact I only discovered relatively recently), I find myself thinking more broadly these days.

What other people choose to do with or to their bodies and minds is nothing to do with me. It is a choice for them, it is their responsibility.

Everything I know about drugs comes from movies I have watched, or books that I have read. I have no first hand knowledge. Perhaps arrogantly, I always presumed my mind open enough that I could forego the hassle of sticking a needle in my arm, or swallowing LSD to encourage it to think more freely. I never saw the need, or had the urge, to experience alternate realities. My golden rule is: don't knock it until/unless you have tried it. So I continue not to knock it. In my entire life I can not think of a single time when another's drug use has impacted me negatively.

What I do know for sure is that the War on Drugs is a pathetic failure. Billions have been wasted on this endeavour. How many lives lost during its' prosecution? Like all government sponsored "War on [insert any word here]" they cost money & lives and always end in failure. Always.

The Portuguese thought about it all, and decided to defur the feline differently. They decriminalised all drugs in 2001. Time Magazine ran an article on this ground-breaking idea, and the results are quite amazing.

Here's a snippet:

"The paper, published by Cato in April, found that in the five years after personal possession was decriminalized, illegal drug use among teens in Portugal declined and rates of new HIV infections caused by sharing of dirty needles dropped, while the number of people seeking treatment for drug addiction more than doubled.

"Judging by every metric, decriminalization in Portugal has been a resounding success," says Glenn Greenwald, an attorney, author and fluent Portuguese speaker, who conducted the research. "It has enabled the Portuguese government to manage and control the drug problem far better than virtually every other Western country does."

Compared to the European Union and the U.S., Portugal's drug use numbers are impressive. Following decriminalization, Portugal had the lowest rate of lifetime marijuana use in people over 15 in the E.U.: 10%. The most comparable figure in America is in people over 12: 39.8%. Proportionally, more Americans have used cocaine than Portuguese have used marijuana."


richard said...

this makes sense.... if an addict could buy heroin in a chemist for mere pence, which is what it really costs, the drug gangs and pushers would disappear. the only thing is there's a huge section of the economy which deals with the "problem"
the anti-drugs workers (police, health agencies, prison guards and so on) all pay income tax, so in effect it's good for the balance sheet. the only losers are the people in the sink estates; in effect these are "farms" maintained in such a way as to keep various agencies employed.

Captain Ranty said...


I did think about the other side of it: government actually making a profit from drug use, but I couldn't find enough evidence to support a statement like that. Beyond the obvious jobs & tax as you pointed out.

I read recently that the Vatican via Roman Catholic drug dealers have some say in the matter. They control the catholics-the drug dealers-ergo, they control the drugs.

Is it beyond the wit of government (or some of its nefarious agencies) to actually control the supply of drugs into developed nations? I seriously doubt it but without a whistleblower, how would we find out? An FOI request?

I also hear that they like drugs in gaols. They make a potentially violent population docile, and easier to manage.


Anonymous said...

Been saying this for years, been in the wilderness for years as well. Welcome to the wilderness CR