If you support keeping drugs illegal…

by Tom++, June 27, 1995

From the Talk.Politics.Drugs Usenet newsgroup

You support robberies and assaults on innocent people.
The high prices of drugs caused by prohibition force many drug addicts to turn to robbery in order to pay for their drugs. Legalization would drop drug prices. Drug users would no longer need to rob/assault innocent people in order to support their drug habit. This violence against innocent people would end if drugs were legalized.
You support clogging our prisons and jails with nonviolent people.
Nearly 50% of all people in prison and jail are serving time for nonviolent drug charges. There are thousands of people in prisons for 5, 10, 50 years—even life—for possessing marijuana or cocaine! The average rapist is set free after serving only 3 years in prison, the average murderer is set free after serving only 9 years in prison! To house just one prisoner for one year costs the taxpayer $40,000! The result of these harsh penalties? Drug use has increased! (Tough laws have not stopped me from using marijuana—nor will they ever!)
You support organized crime and drug cartels.
Huge drug cartels and criminal organizations thrive off the enormous profits caused by drug prohibition. These organizations are responsible for thousands of murders! Many of people killed or hurt are innocent people who get in the way! These violent organizations will never be put out of business—unless drugs are legalized.
You support environmental destruction.
Underground cocaine and methamphetamine labs use toxic chemicals to produce those drugs—the wastes are recklessly dumped in forests and streams. These highly toxic chemicals are causing major environmental damage in South American rainforests and now in the U.S. This environmental destruction will stop only if drugs are legalized.
You support drug dealers and street gangs.
Drug dealers and street gangs fight over drug territories. Thousands of people are murdered and assaulted because of this fighting—many are innocent people who get in the way. This violence is another result of the huge profits caused by drug prohibition.
You lure thousands of young people into quitting school.
It is a fact that thousands of inner-city youths drop out of school to make enormous profits by selling drugs. The incentive to drop out of school would end if drugs were legalized.
You do nothing to keep drugs away from kids or out of schools.
In spite of what you may believe, keeping drugs illegal does not keep drugs away from children! Drugs are easily obtainable in almost every high school in America. Legalizing drugs would put schoolyard drug dealers out of business! There would be less drugs in our schools if drugs were legalized. Drugs would still be illegal for minors!
You subsidize criminals by letting them reap huge drug profits without paying taxes.
Since drugs are sold anyway, wouldn’t you rather have them heavily taxed so it would reduce your tax burden? You are giving criminals a free ride and it’s coming out of your own pocket. Working people pay 100% of all taxes for the drug dealers! Why do you want to pay taxes for drug dealers?
You advocate punishing millions of harmless drug users (like me) at an enormous cost to society.
If you believe drugs should be illegal, then you advocate spending your tax dollars to arrest/jail/punish millions of productive, honest, and harmless working people (like myself). Why? We hurt nobody! Who benefits from this policy? Nobody! Who loses from this policy? Everybody!
Drug users can only hurt themselves. But the drug war harms/kills hundreds of thousands of innocent people and burdens you—the taxpayer. The drug war costs you hundreds of dollars every year! The drug war has not reduced drug use!

Prohibitionists claim drugs must be illegal because they harm people. Why are prohibitionists so concerned about what other people do to themselves? Why do they feel it is their responsibility and right to control the lifestyles of other adults? The prohibitionists tell stories of people who hurt themselves with illegal drugs. So what? For every one person who has been harmed with illegal drugs, there are dozens of people who have used illegal drugs and were not harmed. For every one person who has been harmed by illegal drugs, there are 1,000 people who harm/kill themselves by deliberately choosing these harmful lifestyles…

  • Being overweight
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Watching too much TV
  • Eating high-fat/high-cholesterol diets
  • Eating too much meat
  • Participating in dangerous sports/activities
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Eating too much sugar
  • Eating too few fruits/vegetables
  • Drinking too much coffee
  • Getting little/no exercise

Why don’t the prohibitionists advocate banning all of the above harmful lifestyles? The prohibitionists tolerate people who hurt/kill themselves with tobacco, alcohol, poor diet, or no exercise, but they refuse to tolerate people who harm themselves with cocaine. Why? Inconsistent! Illogical! Irrational!

We now come to the real reason why marijuana, cocaine, LSD, and other drugs are illegal: Lifestyle control! Prohibitionists fear that if drugs are legalized, the “drug culture” will spread to the rest of society. Nobody can force others to use drugs! Adults must take responsibility for their own health! Because the prohibitionists have decided that drugs are wrong for them does not give them the right to force their lifestyle on others. Prohibitionists want government to play the role of parent. Prohibitionists believe they must babysit adults. Prohibitionists are the lifestyle police!

In the last 25 years, per capita alcohol and tobacco consumption has decreased significantly. This was accomplished by education and treatment, not by threat of punishment! Drug use/abuse would drop significantly if we spent our resources on education and treatment instead of law enforcement. No rational person would call for imprisonment of smokers and drinkers in order to reduce tobacco and alcohol use. But that method is exactly how we try to reduce drug use. The savings to be had in ending the drug war could easily pay for all the drug treatment and education programs we need. The drug war is a failure! Education and treatment work!

If you don’t like a culture or a lifestyle, don’t live it! If you don’t like alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, or other drugs, don’t use them! But don’t ban my personal lifestyle for fear it will poison your lifestyle. Adults must take responsibility for their own actions! It is a flagrant violation of individual freedom to threaten others with punishment just because they choose a lifestyle that is not right for you.

I will continue to smoke marijuana and enjoy it! I hurt nobody! If others do not approve of what I do to myself in my own home, too bad! I may not care for the music you listen to, the food you eat, or the culture you have adopted, but I would never advocate punishing you because I don’t like your lifestyle. If someone violates the rights of others, the violater should be punished; otherwise, people should mind their own business. Adults who use drugs responsibly—whether they be tobacco, alcohol, LSD, or marijuana—cause no harm to others! Leave us alone!

If you still believe drugs should be illegal, answer this question… Why do you believe it is good policy to punish me—and 20 million adult Americans like me—because I choose to use marijuana in the privacy of my own home? Who benefits from this policy and how do they benefit?

Total cost of drug prohibition

  • Over 300,000 nonviolent people lose their freedom to prison/jail.
  • Thousands of murders, assaults, and robberies caused by drug crimes.
  • $20 billion/year in law enforcement costs.
  • $10 billion/year in lost tax revenue (similar to alcohol tax).
  • $5 billion/year in property losses due to drug-related crimes.
  • $50 billion/year and 500,000 jobs lost because of no hemp industry.

Total cost = $85 billion/year = $500 per taxpayer every year!

Harmful Effects?

Drugs Most Harmful Effects
  • Liver damage, birth defects, kills brain cells, intoxication, can induce violent behavior
  • Addiction: As addicting as cocaine!
  • Overdose: Possible.
  • Deaths/year (U.S.): 100,000 (Not counting drunk driving or crimes caused while intoxicated.)
  • Lung, throat, and mouth cancer, emphysema, heart damage, premature aging of skin, underdeveloped newborn babies.
  • Addiction: As addicting as heroin or cocaine!
  • Overdose: Possible, but extremely unlikely.
  • Deaths/year (U.S.): 400,000
  • Slight chance of bronchitis in some users.
  • Possible minor sperm count reduction, but unproven.
  • Lung cancer remotely possible with extremely heavy use, but unproven.
  • Short-term memory loss only while intoxicated—Not permanent!
  • Addiction: less addicting than coffee, soda, meat, or sugar!
  • Overdose: Impossible!
  • Deaths/year (U.S.): 0 (Zero!)