I’m no expert on mind altering drugs, but I do consider myself an experienced business person. When a product is more available than there is demand, prices fall. And when a product has more demand than supply prices rise. It’s pretty clear today that the supply of illegal drugs outweighs the demand, and so prices are low.
When I walk down the street the volume of drug use is quite clear, I know the smell of pot quite well, and it’s everywhere. There are also some really weird smells coming from many people walking around, and the smells are more than the usual summer taxi driver body odor, I’m talking about some weird crap people are smoking. And it’s pretty obvious these are either illegal drugs, or some form of drug that has not yet been made illegal and so people are inhaling it to get a buzz without having some person in blue screaming “get on the ground” repeatedly while pointing a Taser gun at them.
There was a thing in years past called the war on drugs. Now if that truly was a war then by every reasonable measure it was and is a war that has been well and truly lost.
Isn’t it time that as a society we get beyond the idea of prohibition and go for a formal legal framework whereby drugs become controlled in the same was as other deadly, addictive substances are (alcohol and tobacco being the most obvious). Once something is legal and controlled, then reasonable discussions can take place about safety and efficacy. Companies can test and market their products, make profits, pay taxes and if the product turns out to be dangerous they can be fined, imprisoned and generally made to pay for being greedy selfish bastards.
Also it means that little things like addiction can be considered. Maybe with research it’s possible to make drugs less addictive. Maybe the levels of active ingredients can be managed, and maybe those who market products (that when misused can inflict harm) can have a reason to invest in treatment centers to minimize the damage caused by their products.
Guns are legal, alcohol is legal, sugary drinks are legal, cigarettes are legal, reality TV shows are legal. All of these can and do cause harm when used in excess or by people who are outside the “safe criteria” for ownership or usage.
So why not just stop making stuff illegal, and instead show people that doing stupid things is just stupid.
There are some drugs that should obviously be controlled, but these are the ones that people can use to harm others. Frankly, taking any drug has side effects, and I personally prefer to take no drugs unless prescribed by a doctor, and even then I question if it’s really required or is it just the doctor either looking to make the big conference sponsored by the drug company or trying to cover their ass by oversubscribing to reduce their legal liability.
Of course I’m lying, I regularly take my drugs in the form of wine, beer, diet coke, Chinese food and tap water. But I choose not to knowingly take un-prescribed prescription drugs or anything that has likely been transported by the rectum of a tourist from Thailand or was made by a peasant in Columbia who doesn’t care about by personal health. And I really like my brain the way it is (I’m sure some could question this statement), and I see no reason to break something that is working quite well for me.
I know many creative people have found the effects of mood changing and psychedelic drugs to be critical to their creative process. Many of these people have since died either from excess, of the effects mind altering drugs have on judgement. I suspect many times more have died from the judgement altering effects of ethanol and the impact of turning their lungs into tar pits. The best things about alcohol and cigarettes are the controls on kids. Most kids don’t get drunk on alcohol, partly because it’s hard for them to buy it legally, but mostly because it’s expensive and so limited by their budgets, and that’s the power of taxation on intoxication.
And of course the whole private prisons thing that is fed millions of pot heads is just plain nuts. Illegal drugs foster a culture of illegality through the whole cycle of manufacturing, transportation, distribution, selling, owning and consuming. Making drugs not-illegal changes all of these businesses into legitimate profit centers paying taxes and being concerned about the health and welfare of their workers and customers.
You don’t have to like a product, or use a product, or like the people who make, sell or use a product. But we all have a responsibility to create a society free from underclasses or processes outside of reasonable society.
I don’t think it’s a case of making drugs legal, it’s a case of stopping making anything illegal.