Friday, March 13, 2009

The War on (Some) Drugs

I've never weighed in on the War on (Some) Drugs before, but this story got my interest. My personal view is that we should have learned our lesson with Prohibition. Every time they ban something, they create a new business.* (Not to mention the ridiculous expansion of the Interstate Commerce clause that supports - and is supported by - the War.)

Kalifornia is considering a bill to legalize marijuana and regulate (and tax) it like alcohol. Of course, some people think it's the worst idea since the end of Prohibition. One objector says the easy availability of the drug will lead to a surge in its use, much like what happened when alcohol was allowed to be sold in venues other than liquor stores in some states.

I have news for him: it's already very available. In fact, retired Orange County Superior Court Judge James Gray (someone who ought to know) responds by saying "We couldn't make this drug any more available if we tried."

He seems to realize that bans on things just don't work. He also says that legalizing marijuana would save the state a billion dollars a year in court costs alone. "Not only do we have those problems, along with glamorizing it by making it illegal, but we also have the crime and corruption that go along with it." He adds, "Unfortunately, every society in the history of mankind has had some form of mind-altering, sometimes addictive substances to use, to misuse, abuse or get addicted to. Get used to it. They're here to stay. So, let's try to reduce those harms and right now we couldn't do it worse if we tried." [emphasis mine]

I think he gets it.

* This is a rough quote from a book in the Vlad Taltos series by Steven Brust. I just can't remember which book.

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