The multi-billion-dollar industry that is the War On Drugs, which has imprisoned countless people for simple possession and spurred development of for-profit prisons across America, “has failed”, according to a report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy.
The major players in the war are, of course, circling their wagons:
The office of White House drug tsar Gil Kerlikowske rejected the panel’s recommendations.
“Drug addiction is a disease that can be successfully prevented and treated,” said a spokesman for the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
“Making drugs more available – as this report suggests – will make it harder to keep our communities healthy and safe.”
The government of Mexico, where more than 34,000 people have died in drug-related violence since a crackdown on the cartels began in December 2006, was also critical.
Legalisation would be an “insufficient and inefficient” step given the international nature of the illegal drugs trade, said National Security spokesman Alejandro Poire.
“Legalisation won’t stop organised crime, nor its rivalries and violence,” he said.
“To think organised crime in Mexico means drug-trafficking overlooks the other crimes committed such as kidnapping, extortion and robbery.”
Because Al Capone was able to build an empire of kidnapping, extortion and robbery without black-market hooch, I’m certain. How many of these arguments were used verbatim to justify prohibition? How many of the arrests were of kingpins, rather than for simple possession — and how many of the “drug trafficking” arrests were of people possessing small stockpiles that may have been intended for personal use? Seriously, I hear about people being arrested for growing one or two pot plants and the media plays it up like they’re drug kingpins. It’s ridiculous nonsense, and it has to stop.
Unfortunately, the powers-that-be appear to have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo, ratcheting up the laws and building bigger for-profit prisons, or even state prisons that are commissioned by cronies of the people in power. Even the argument that one can make a lot of money legalizing, standardizing and taxing recreational drugs (and thereby fund an underfunded medical system) evidently falls on deaf ears when the money isn’t going directly into certain people’s cronies’ pockets.
This is a humanitarian cause. The mere fact that these demonized recreational pharmaceuticals do a mere fraction as much damage as alcohol, yet alcohol is a cash cow for the government (especially in Canada, with its provincially-run liquor commissions), is proof enough that the current abolitionist situation is not one based on evidence. If there were the merest scintilla of evidence that drug prohibition was worth the body count both in deaths and in lives ruined for which it’s directly responsible, then I’d be all for it.
But there is of course no such evidence to be had.