We all know that the prohibition of alcohol was a complete and utter failure. This “noble experiment” drastically increased the corruption in government, handed the market over to the Mafia, and left thousands dead. So why do we persistently support the war on drugs? Or better yet why has the government not changed with the times? Most people believe that marijuana should be recreationally legalized. Many would also agree with cocaine. Much past that though people have not been as eager to legalize. Much of that has to do with the stigma around epidemics like the current opioid drug epidemic.
Let us look at heroin and opioids for a moment. We are all aware of the stories surrounding doctors who liberally prescribe opioids for pain to only later take the prescription away, leaving those in pain in the depths of an opioid withdraw. This pushed people to the streets in a similar fashion that the alcohol prohibition did. Underground liquor killed thousands of people just as street heroin is today. Because it is illegal, there is no accountability for those selling it. However, this will not change until the market makes the change and big companies like the NFL stop pushing opioids on their player instead of safe alternatives like marijuana, but that will not change either until we end the useless Drug War.
The Drug War comes at an immense cost to the taxpayers, and routinely incarcerates people for non-violent crimes. Since 1980, 10 times the amount of people have been incarcerated for drug crimes. Meanwhile, the 2018 budget for drug control policy was $27.57 billion. These policies are not for our safety, but rather are tools for scaremongering in the form of “reefer madness” in order to suck as much money as they can from the people and line their pockets and the pockets of their friends.
One clear instance of this was the Iran-Contra affair. In short, the US government owed aid to Nicaragua, and the Contras were awarded the arms for aid. Part of the disguise here was that the US was looking to recover some hostages. However, what came of this was something far more nefarious than we could have imagined. Through a flurry of events, the CIA began to help Nicaragua run cocaine into the united states, and show some of the poorest, mostly black, communities how to make crack cocaine. As we know, crack cocaine began fetching more severe sentences than its cocaine counterpart. The public would discover what the government was doing only after Gary Webb, against threats and warnings, broke the story in a lengthy news article and later a book. After the story broke Webb was found with two gunshot wounds to his head. Still, his death has been ruled a suicide.
However, there are many industries that benefit from continuing the drug war. Alcohol and tobacco companies benefit by holding a duopoly on the recreational drug market. Big pharma benefits by not having the market open to alternative methods of medicine that are easier to produce, more readily available, and healthier for us. Finally, there are drug testing and treatment centers. Now I think the latter will still exist, but with an active war on drugs, even the treatment centers have an interest in keeping the government checks flowing in.
The government makes money by importing drugs, or at least making the pathway open for a fee, and then gets the taxpayers to give them money to fund it.
So what would the benefits for the government be? Well, first of all, it allows them to maintain control or at least the illusion of control. The government wants to control the masses with their approval. They want you to think that you need them to come in and protect you, but in reality, they have just developed schemes to make money on the front end and the back end. Politicians get money from interest groups to keep the war on drugs going, then they get the funding from the back end by helping move illegal drugs in, and finally receive money from taxpayers to help fight the war on drugs. The government is nothing, but a bunch of corrupt crooks engaging in waste, fraud, and abuse.
But what do we do? Well, we need to let these drug be legal. We need to open up the market and not allow the government to tax legal drugs out of the market, therefore recreating the black market for the substances. I would not argue for regulation per se, but I would certainly like to see an accountability mechanism for the products that people are selling. Decriminalization was tried in Portugal, which had one of the world’s word substance abuse and overdose problems, and the result was astonishingly positive. This type of model can be reworked for America with similar results. We could end the deaths from the black markets and overdoses and the destruction of families and lives. Remove the power from government and restore the liberty of the people.