Since 1971, Americans have been victims of the war on drugs. Nixon began the war on drugs to target anti-war hippies and people of color, and we still pay the consequences today. As polls show that over 62% of Americans support marijuana legalization and psychedelics continue to help those in need, we are left to wonder why this drug war continues. Isn’t the government supposed to serve us? Aren’t our representatives supposed to represent American interests? Or are there other, less immediately apparent interests at play?
Jeff Deist is the president of the Mises Institue. The institute was founded by Murray Rothbard and Lew Rockwell and is located in Auburn Alabama. He was kind enough to sit down with 71 Republic’s Mason Mohon and Tom DiGennaro to talk about the impact of socialism on students, libertarian strategy, and the situation of libertarianism today. You can find Jeff Deist on Mises.org and on Twitter. Below is an audio recording of the Jeff Deist interview along with a transcript.
The Controlled Substances Act created the US system for ranking each drug by comparing their medicinal value to their potential for abuse. For Example, according to the DEA, schedule one drugs have no medicinal value and a high potential for abuse. Marijuana happens to fall into the schedule one group while cocaine is a schedule two drug. This means, according to the US Government, cocaine has more accepted medicinal uses than marijuana. Under the Controlled Substance Act, The FDA defines marijuana as a schedule one drug. Tt’s therefore “not safe to use even under medical supervision”. However, the DEA allows medical cocaine use with “severe restrictions.”
One major issue for Libertarians is drug usage. According to the official platform of the Libertarian party, they support the “repeal of all laws creating ‘crimes’ without victims”. Some examples they include are gambling, drugs, and sex work. The Libertarian Party wants to repeal all drug laws (among others) as they do not involve a victim. Two questions should arise from this: whether the usage and sale of drugs is a victimless crime and whether or not people should face consequences for selling drugs.
The counterculture of the United States took the Western world by storm in the late 1960s. It was a cultural progression against the political and social establishment that emulated bohemianism. The movement achieved common goals underlying issues interpreted in a unique way. It was during this time that the unconventional lifestyle that had taken root long before Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock ’69 finally became orthodox.