The United States of America, we are toldWhen , is "the land of the free" and many people are all too quick to accept this erroneous claim without question. But how free are you, really? Just take a look at the laws on the books which are the reason "victimless crimes" is an actual phrase and barely anyone seems to notice how contradictory it is. If there is no victim then there is no crime. Seems pretty straightforward to me. Yet there are still support who support the existence of such laws. These people say that, while there might not always be an individual victim, society at large is always a victim. This is a vacuous statement which makes a nonsensical concept appear as possessing actual legitimacy to the uncritical mind.

 The War on Drugs

 Ah yes, the war America has been fighting and losing for over 40 years. What a better place to start a conversation about the ostensible land of freedom which only pays lip-service to the concept of freedom than here?

Whatever your personal feelings about drugs and drug use, surely you can admit that we should have the right to put whatever we want into our bodies. It's not like this act in and of itself causes any real harm to another person. It doesn't make them any less free. It doesn't deprive them of life, liberty or property. And yet, it is still illegal to even possess certain drugs which have been arbitrarily deemed illegal. 

Speaking in favor of the drug war, specifically what makes it a viable option, people will say that drug use can lead to people committing other crimes. Which is essentially to say “Action A may not harm another individual in and of itself but Action A has the potential to lead to Action B which does harm another individual therefore the mere potentiality of Action A leading to Action B is sufficient cause to justify the Prohibition of Action A.” Substitute “use of (choose any illegal drug)” for Action A and substitute “an act of violence against another individual” and you have a common permutation of the argument. Yet, this can equally be applied to alcohol and yet alcohol is still legal. This is as it should be -- alcohol being legal, that is -- because the “potential to”, is not the same thing as “guaranteed to.” Taken to the (even more) extreme, this form of “logic” could be used to justify the prohibition of pretty much any banal activity you could think of are uninsured is another favorite argument of those in favor of drug prohibition. This is another hypocritical stance to take since numerous things which are perfectly legal to do have that same effect but they are in no danger of being deemed illegal. Drinking gasoline is certainly detrimental to one’s health but if one wanted to drink a cup of gasoline, there is no law on the books which would try to stop them. And nor should there be since more emphasis should be placed upon the importance of personal responsibility.

Another supporting argument for the drug war is the claim that even though drug users might not always victimize other people as a result of, or in order to support, their drug habit, the drug trade is mainly controlled by violent gangs and drug cartels. Yet this conveniently forgets one important thing these gangs and cartels are the necessary (unavoidable) result of drug prohibition – it is simple economics at work. That the use of certain drugs are illegal does not eradicate or even the demand for them any more than it eradicates or lessens the supply. If anything, it is likely that it has had the exact opposite effect.<As long as there is a demand, there will be market to fill that demand. Even if it is a black market. Since these drugs are an illegal commodity, that adds a premium onto the price. It’s an attempt to set an agreeable balance between risk and reward. The greater the risk, the greater the reward. And since getting pinched with 1 kilo of cocaine will lead to far more severe consequences than getting pinched for doing a line of coke from that kilo on the bathroom sink in a bar, there is a better than good chance that the type of person willing to work on high volume supply end of the market is going to be the type of person who will do anything to avoid suffering the penalty imposed for getting caught, even if this involves killing a cop, or 2, or 10. The high profitability of the illicit drug trade is also the precursor for turf wars between domestic street gangs. Each wants to have a monopoly on the trade in their locale to maximize their own profits. Rather than a buyout to kill the competition, they literally kill the competition since there is no legal alternative. 

Despite the propaganda machine of the DEA and ONDCP, these problems are the result of drug prohibition, not drug use and could easily be mitigated if not ended entirely by ending drug prohibition entirely.

Prohibition of alcohol was tried, and it failed, miserably. For the same reasons and with the same negative result outcome that prohibition of alcohol failed, drug prohibition would fail, too. I say “would” because this so called “War on Drugs” is not about completely ending the use and sale of drugs. Just as drug prohibition creates a potential for high profits for those who sell the drugs, it does the same for those who are, ostensibly, working to put an end to the sale of drugs. Consider the millions of dollars in cash, weapons, vehicles, real estate and drugs which are seized by law enforcement. The end of drug prohibition would also be an end to this. So not only do these agencies know the (stated) aim of the drug war is destined for failure, they are counting on it. Much like the prison system thrives on recidivism which it is supposed to be working against, law enforcement agencies thrive on the illicit drug trade which they are supposed to be working against. And these two concepts go hand in hand and you are footing the bill for both with your tax dollars.

And if you’re thinking “well it sounds like he is saying he thinks drugs should be legal” you are absolutely correct. That is indeed what I am saying. It should be perfectly legal for an individual put any substance they want into their body since that act in and of itself hurts no one else. By extension, it should also be legal to buy and sell these substances. For clarification I am not just talking about “soft drugs” like marijuana, I am talking about every one of them.

“Even heroin?"

Yes, even heroin.

“But if heroin were legal then there would be a lot more heroin addicts running around!”

Oh, really? So the only reason you don’t do heroin is because it is illegal and if it were legalized on Monday you would be a full-on junkie by Thursday? Strange, the only reason I don’t do heroin is because I don’t want to and if it were legalized on Monday I still wouldn’t want to do it come Thursday. 

“But you would want them to be regulated at least, right?”

No. I said legalization, not regulation.

“There should at least be an age restriction like there is for alcohol and cigarettes to keep kids from getting them.”

Right, because those restrictions totally keep kids from being able to get them. I wasn’t able to have my first cigarette before I turned 18 and my first drink before I turned 21 because of those damn age restrictions!

“So you think it is okay for my 5 year old kid to do heroin?”

I think if your 5 year old kid is doing heroin -- whether it is legal or not -- you have failed as a parent and have far more pressing concerns to address than what I think. For the sake of consistency and honesty; theoretically, yes I think it should be legal for someone of any age to walk into a store and purchase any drug they want. Though I really doubt even the most unscrupulous street dealer would sell heroin to a child, whether legal or not.

“You only say that because you want to do them.”

What I want to do is none of your business, but if I want to do something, no law will stop me. It never has and never will.

“But drug use ruins lives!”

 It is a possibility, yes, but not a guarantee. Alcohol and gambling can also ruin lives but I don’t see you claiming those things should be illegal simply because they can ruin lives even though there is no guarantee that they will.

 “That is entirely different!”

 How? Or are you only say that because you want to do those things?