In order to win the war on drug lords we must first take a good hard look around us. We have been fighting a war on drugs for many years now. It is doing nothing. We still have all the old favorites all over the place. And, we still have well-armed drug lords.
I do not have a way to get rid of the drugs. I do not think it is truly possible to get rid of the drugs. However, I do believe that we could get rid of the drug lords with the stroke of a pen. I do not personally know of a single drug that is more dangerous than a gun toting drug lord.
Some may recognize the major content of this from a reply of mine on Dvorak Uncensored long ago. I think the topic worthy of a repost to a new audience.
Here is my suggestion:
1. Legalize all drugs.
2. Do not allow advertising of any drug, including the ones that are advertised today; let’s not remain a society of overmedicated fools.
3. Put a vice tax on all recreational drugs.
4. Ensure that the vice tax must be used only for public service anti-drug advertisements and for rehab programs for the drugs that are addictive. (Yes, this part will be difficult, but not impossible.)
5. Set a minimum age for recreational drug purchase, something that is a tad difficult to do with today’s drug dealers.
6. Enforce no drugs and driving laws, which is currently a real problem, at least in the case of alcohol. (Of course, cell phone while driving is just as bad. That should be enforced too. But, this is a tangent.)
7. Sell all recreational drugs from behind the pharmacy counter to prevent advertising in the display.
This will have the effects of:
1. Freeing up space in prisons for real criminals.
2. Freeing up court staff and police for law enforcement of real crimes with real victims.
3. Instantly putting gun-toting drug lords out of business.
4. Reducing drug use, an assumption based on the experience with prohibition.
5. Reducing the ill effects of drug addiction on society.
6. Increasing respect for increasingly rational laws.
7. Saving money, as all costs to society from drug use will now be paid by the drug users.
8. Reducing transmission of AIDS and hepatitis from injected drugs. Presumably, these would now be sold in single use syringes.
9. Putting the profits in the hands of profiteering drug companies and politicians, the latter through lobbying. This is bad, but a lesser evil than gun-toting drug lords, at least hopefully so.
10. Reducing deaths from overdose due to inconsistent drug strength.
As an aside, I read that in one of the years soon after 9/11, we spent $800 million on making sure that our borders are secure against a nuclear threat, when $2 billion would have been required to do it right. In that same year, we spent $4 billion on the war on drugs. So, there’s also a priorities issue to me. This may have been from a Mother Jones article. I’m no longer sure. Even if these numbers are incorrect though, I think we have better ways to spend this money than on protecting us from a victimless crime.
It is true that people driving under the influence of a drug may cause victims. It is true that people stealing for drug money creates victims. However, in these cases, it is the driving under the influence and the stealing that are crimes, not the drug use.
This is a general audience article that paraphrases imperfectly a study on the relative dangers of specific drugs as reported in The Guardian. Here is the full text from The Lancet, which will require a free subscription to read, but is well worth it.
I believe this study could be the basis for determining the order in which drugs should be legalized so that we can see the effects of legalizing some drugs before legalizing all of them.
We can’t get rid of the drugs. Let’s at least get rid of the drug lords.