Marty Riske: Prohibition Doesn't Work And Never Has
Since President Richard Nixon founded the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) 45 years ago, millions of our young have been sent to prison for non-violent drug use or possession. The problem has not gone away. In fact, we have a record number of people in prison as I write this.
And now, even though President Ronald Reagan hiked sentences all the way to a lifetime in prison an alarming number of our gifted young are dying from heroin.
When the DEA first referred to marijuana as a “gateway drug”, I vehemently disagreed. The proposition was that if a person tried marijuana, they would try harder drugs. Since then, it has been shown that marijuana is not the typical beginning drug. That spot is occupied by alcohol and tobacco.
[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]If we agree that we each own our own bodies, rather than the government owning our bodies, we should also agree that we are free to ingest anything into them as we see fit, regardless of the damage we cause ourselves.[/mks_pullquote]
Marijuana could be a gateway drug because our young are forced to approach street sellers who also have harder drugs. The answer is simple. Remove marijuana from the illegal class and the introduction to harder drugs falls.
Marijuana has never killed anyone by overdosing. Also, since the legalization of marijuana in 18 states, for the first time users can measure the amount of drug they are getting, so it’s safer. Another unexpected result is the performance of marijuana as a medicine for pain management.
But let’s remove the discussion of the evils of the drug war or the benefits of marijuana for a moment. Let’s consider the issue of liberty, specifically personal liberty.
If we agree that we each own our own bodies, rather than the government owning our bodies, we should also agree that we are free to ingest anything into them as we see fit, regardless of the damage we cause ourselves.
There are many legal items we may ingest that can cause us great personal damage, for example cigarettes, alcohol, junk food, prescription drugs, etc. so really, the point is self ownership vs: state ownership.
Prohibition doesn’t work and it never will.
Let’s get back to the freedom of personal liberty as our constitution allows.