WASHINGTON. October 25, 2013 — In the 1920’s, America tried prohibition. It created the Mafia and was such a disaster that the constitutional amendment that first allowed prohibition was repealed by another constitutional amendment.
America has a long and storied history in the war against drugs. Drugs exploded into popular culture in the sixties. Richard Nixon launched the first war on drugs, but the war on drugs really expanded during the Reagan years. Since then, like an out of control tumor, the war on drugs has expanded.
Today it consumes billions of dollars. It has created a law enforcement profit industry, where law enforcement can take money and property away from innocent people. These people, who are frequently not even charged with a crime, are forced to go to court, if they can afford a lawyer, and they are forced to prove their property is lawfully theirs.
The war on drugs has incarcerated tens of thousands of people whose only crime was a drug offense. It has created Mexican drug cartels that terrorize not only Mexico but are now reaching into the United States. These cartels reap huge profits from illegal drugs.
Libertarians everywhere jump for joy at the idea of legalizing drugs. Unfortunately, they miss the boat as well. Legalizing drugs so people can just get high is a really bad idea.
Just because something is legalized does not mean it is something that should be encouraged.
Libertarians often say we should legalize drugs, regulate and tax them. They are right about that, but it is the users who also must be regulated.
Instead of the massive and failed war on drugs, American needs to prohibit the possession and use of drugs by people who have not obtain a permit for drug use from the government. In fact, the penalties for possession of drugs by an unregistered user should be draconian.
The government should allow possession and use of drug use by those who register for a drug use permit. Registration is not simply an open license to use drugs. As with everything there are consequences and there should be.
If you want to be a registered drug user, that should be public information. It also should be a bar to certain types of employment. If you are a registered drug user, you aren’t going to be a heart surgeon. Nor are you going to be flying a jumbo jet nor will you be driving a large truck. And you won’t be on public assistance either.
The drug war has been a total disaster on every front. If it were a real war we would be asking the other side what their terms of surrender are.
The drug was has transformed America. We have a burgeoning prison population we cannot afford. We have law enforcement policing for profit, since under war on drugs inspired asset forfeiture laws, law enforcement agencies get to keep a percentage of what they seize. We have our local police departments that now look like small armies, complete with automatic weapons and armored personnel carriers, because of the violence that has come with the war on drugs.
Enough is enough!
The first step in fixing a problem is to acknowledge that there is a problem.
The war on drugs is a huge problem. The only thing worse than the drug problem is the government solution to stop it.
This is one place where we can work on shrinking government and helping to restore liberty.
Uncle Sam, end this war now!
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