Monday, April 11, 2011

It Is Time for Decriminalization

Why is it that drugs are illegal?  The obvious answer is because of the danger such things pose to society.  But at some point, you have to examine what is more of a danger, the result of an all-out war on the consumption and sale of drugs, or the danger of leaving people to themselves to consume the drugs.    I happen to think that it is better to allow drug use to be decriminalized and allow those that would consume them to receive the natural consequences of such a decision.  For the longest time, my view held a caveat in that all government safety nets for bad behavior must be cut so that the full force of the natural consequence would be a partial deterrent to drug use because I don’t want to see tax money spent on people making bad decisions with their own lives.   While I still hold this opinion, I think that I would now be in favor of the decriminalization of drug use even if the safety net remains in place for several reasons.  First and foremost, I actually think the loss in property, money, lives, and impact on families would be dramatically less.  Second, I don’t think drug use would actually increase.   They say that no matter how high they raise a speed limit, most people will generally drive no faster than 70 miles per hour.   When a person is allowed total freedom to make decisions regarding their safety, most people will choose correctly.  And what happens when somebody doesn’t, they pay the price.  But what about the people that would get high and get into accidents.  Well, they are already doing that.  If you really want to fight drugs, increase the penalties for the consequences of harming others, like DWI’s.   You’ll accomplish more by targeting the people that do drugs recklessly by locking them up for their bad behavior than by targeting all drug users equally.  If I run a police force and I have to allocate a portion of my officers to busting drug sale and consumption, as well as public safety, such as DWI’s, I’m overstretching resources and budgets, but with little to show.  I imagine you could do much more for public safety by diverting the resources used in fighting drugs to fighting DWI’s and other victim crimes.  And you could do it with much less money.   Assume for a moment that most people will want to drive a reasonable speed limit.  Now imagine a country where there is no war in crime.  Instead of incarcerating 1 in 3 black males for drug crimes, you only have to worry about the percentage of the population that committed victim crimes.  Imagine turf wars no longer exist full of shootings.  Imagine the idea of making money with no education by selling drugs is no longer a possibility to lower income families.  Imagine the impact to the border as “mules” are no longer used.   I feel that any increase in the crime that results in drug use will be negligible.   We must decriminalize this activity and focus on real crime. 


Kansas Bob said...

I agree with you Mr Chaard. Possibly if it was sold legally we could get some sin-tax revenue from it?

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