A special note on this 4/20:
I have never smoked pot, and I have no desire to. I don’t even like to smell the stuff when someone else is smoking it…but it doesn’t take a genius to understand how the federal ban on drugs has damaged our nation.
Banning drugs hasn’t stopped drug use, it has only driven it underground, creating a black market. It is the exact same phenomenon that our nation saw during Prohibition: people didn’t stop drinking alcohol, they just acquired it through illegal means, and criminal gangs rose up to provide what people wanted. But unlike Prohibition, the War on Drugs has dragged on.
America’s ban on drugs has empowered criminal organizations from the Mexican cartels that manufacture drugs, to the human traffickers that smuggle them into the U.S., to the violent street gangs that distribute & sell them.
Meanwhile, the War on Drugs has empowered America’s police forces to become increasingly militaristic. It has led to no-knock warrants that have repeatedly put innocent people’s lives at risk. It has contributed to the increasing animosity between law enforcement and minority communities. It has degraded Americans’ freedoms.
But most of all, the War on Drugs is a war that America has lost. Sure, there are token ‘victories’ that law enforcement will trumpet, when they bust some dealer or distributor, or intercept a load of marijuana or cocaine being smuggled across the border, but the War on Drugs is a war that can never be won. While we shell out billions of dollars every year for federal, state & local law enforcement efforts to combat the distribution & use of illegal drugs, we do nothing to stop the source of those drugs outside of the United States – and even within the US, the profit motive is sufficient to motivate people to set up another meth lab or pot grow, if only to see how much money they can make before the authorities shut them down.
We law-abiding citizens must endure more Police State surveillance, with (in many cities across the U.S.) video cameras watching us, building an infrastructure that we’re okay with now, because today it isn’t being used against us, but could too easily be turned against us if ever our actions fail to meet with the Crown’s approval. As a gun-owning citizen of California, I have often wondered how long it will be before the state government makes me a criminal, simply because I couldn’t keep up with the innumerable gun laws they pass every year.
I understand the harm that illegal drugs represent. I understand why they were made illegal. But I also understand that the War on Drugs, as it is currently being fought, will never end. It’s time for a change in strategy, before we see even more of our liberties taken from us for a war we cannot win.