an opinion piece by Jake Melkun | U.S.
The War on Drugs was started by President Richard Nixon in 1971. He had declared drug usage “public enemy number one” and his main goals were “eradication, interdiction, and incarceration” of drugs and drug users.
The Drug Policy Alliance estimates around $51 billion is spent on the drug war a year. Our money could go to much better use, such as rehabilitation for more serious drugs, education, perhaps the most appealing alternative, none at all. Instead of locking people up for victimless crimes that don’t affect anyone at all, we should at least be helping them become productive members of society instead of letting them rot in jail.
Keeping drugs illegal increases crime on the streets and causes homelessness. When drugs like marijuana are kept illegal, people still access them through the black market regardless. Drug dealers make fortunes on other people’s demise, and they are rarely ever stopped. There’s a reason why drug addicts are often homeless or impoverished; they have no money to spare for actual important things because the cost of getting drugs is too steep. They have to turn to lives of crime to be able to afford their drugs, which in turn obviously increases crime.
You cannot regulate a black market. The only way to stop the black market is to make it easier for people to gain access to what they need, or use physical force against them. The latter is what we call the War on Drugs, which has failed. What the war has done, though, is create even more illegal immigration. I personally cannot stand illegal immigration. The only way to stop the drug lords from coming here illegally is by making it unprofitable. You must make it easier to access these drugs like marijuana for less money. In turn, the only way to achieve this is by legalizing harmless, yet illegal drugs. The national average for an ounce of illegal marijuana, according to the International Business Times, costs $350. In Colorado (where recreational marijuana is legal), an ounce of pot can run you about $200 on average, from research collected by the Colorado Pot Guide. The statistics were collected from 2014-2015 in Colorado, so by now, there is much more of an established market and competitive prices, even competing with other states now. Now, why would Mexican drug lords find the USA if recreational marijuana was legalized and no one would buy the illegal pot? They wouldn’t and would have to cease operations.
But isn’t there a reason that marijuana and other illegal drugs are illegal? Doesn’t marijuana kill people? You might be shocked to learn that no, it doesn’t. There has never been a recorded death from a marijuana overdose in history. In fact, marijuana is one of the hardest drugs to overdose on. The thing that marijuana does that scares everyone is the fact that it is considered to be a gateway drug. But, while marijuana is illegal, other legal things like tobacco, alcohol, and prescription drug abuse are gateways to those drugs as well. Should we go back to the disaster of alcohol prohibition? No. The important point to be made here is that making something illegal doesn’t mean that people won’t do drugs? No. People will find a way to get their fix, regardless if it is illegal or not. It is time to end the War on Drugs.
The author of this article and 71 Republic, LLC, do not endorse nor recommend using marijuana nor any other illegal substances mentioned in this article.