For years some have been calling for an end to so called “war on drugs”. Across this vast country you have a multitude of reasons why people think we should end it. First you have the argument that you can’t stop people from doing what they want to do. It didn’t work with liquor in the early twentieth century and it won’t work with drugs now. You also have people who say that the recreational use of most drugs is completely harmless and in some, if not most, circumstances is even less. Now you beginning to see a trend where libertarian minded individuals are calling for an end to the drug war based on individual liberty, or the notion that what doesn’t cause harm to others should not be illegal. Also they state that we, as a society, should not criminalize immorality. Also some say that we can only end the drug problem we begin to recognize drug abuse / addiction as a medical problem and not a criminal one. To a certain degree I can find common ground in all of these points of view but I actually agree the most with two two of the aspects. First and I think our homes are sacred and what we do in them is sacred. I believe as long as we cause no harm to another what we do in our home should be off limits. The second one will cause me some grief from my police friends (I was a police officer and police instructor fob the better part of my adult life), but I believe that we should start treat drug problems as a medical instead of criminal.
That being said I have another reason for ending drug war. Now I didn’t come up with this idea and I won’t attempt to take credit for it, but I will gladly take credit for being one of the few to seriously discuss it. Why are we wasting so much of our criminal justice system on something that is up for debate anyway. All the time you hear people complain that plea bargains are a black eye on our justice system or that some convicted violent offender was released from prison early because of overcrowding. I agree with these people and one easy way to rid our justice system of these is to decriminalize most drugs. If we decriminalized most drugs it would take the burden off of judicial system to process countless nonviolent, victimless crimes. As I was saying about “plea bargains”, how many times you heard about numerous cases being plea bargained because local and district prosecutors just don’t have the time or the resources to prepare and prosecute all of the caseload between one grand jury date and the next. Much of this could be alleviated with decriminalizing most drugs.
Another thing to consider is the crimes associated with drugs. Would it be presumptuous to ponder that decriminalizing drugs would also cause a sharp decrease in the violent and property crimes associated with the drug lifestyle. Most of the time when something is decriminalized it is removed from the black market and when that happens the price drops significantly. With a drastic drop in price would we see a correlation in property crimes? Would car radios be safe for the first time in 30 years? How about violent crimes directly and indirectly associated with drugs? A large portion of violent crimes in inner-cities can be be attributed to drugs in one form or another? Now I can’t say for sure, but I would be one bit surprised if we didn’t see a positive effect. Now I could be completely wrong but it is a chance we should all be willing to take. We won’t know until we try and one thing for sure; our currently solution to the “drug problem” just isn’t working.
That’s my Dos Centavos.