Let us imagine for a moment that your national government had enough moral courage to admit that the war on drugs has been a catastrophic failure.
Let us further imagine that due to the opposition party and various other groups freaking out about it, the party in power decides to hold a referendum* on the issue.
*A referendum (also known as a plebiscite or a ballot question) is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of direct democracy.
Here are your options:
Continue the current policy with no changes.
Decriminalise drugs but do not legalise them, only use gov’t resources against the biggest dealers and smugglers. Use the savings from not prosecuting and jailing the users to offer them more and better rehab and treatment facilities. (Note: this option is fully costed and will actually cost taxpayers less than what is now spent.)
Legalise drugs; thereby creating new jobs and new industries (or making existing industries legal) and a new revenue source for the gov’t.
You idiot, you forgot… (Obviously the gov’t wouldn’t give you this choice, but I will.)
Sorry if this has been done before, I tried a search but I couldn’t find anything relevant.
Someone voted for option 4, but neglected to explain what possibility I haven’t considered.
Come on, folks, what’s your opinion? The thread has 40-something views and only 9 votes, counting mine. If anyone has an another idea about the “drug war”, I’d like to hear it. You even have the option to do nothing and continue as-is, if that’s what you’d prefer.
Legalize and regulate. Enforcement is exceedingly costly, and it creates destructive behaviors: one simple example is a drug deal in which person A robs person B of the money and the drugs, because he knows person B will be reluctant to turn to the police for help. If drugs are legal, person B is less reluctant to turn to the authorities for help, and so person A is less likely to instigate violence. How often do you hear of people being robbed or killed during alcohol deals?
Some cities are trying a new approach to deal with hard-core alcoholic homeless individuals. Under the old rules, these people were truly homeless, and they regularly required some combination of police intervention and emergency medical treatment, costing the taxpayers a lot of money. The new approach? House the most expensive of these individuals in a taxpayer-funded apartment building, providing them with medical supervision and taxpayer-funded alcohol every day:
A friend once proposed something similar for drug addicts: supervised addict housing, to which problematic hard-core addicts could voluntarily commit themselves. Once an addict enters, he is provided with housing, food, and all the drugs he wants want. Rehab is not required unless he wants to leave. Such a system would cost money, but this - coupled with legalized, taxed drug sales at modest prices - might be cheaper than the current system of police interdiction, imprisonment, drug turf wars, drug-related violence, and so on.
Legalize and regulate as well. Initially, decriminalization is a good thing, but it doesn’t go far enough to solving the problem. Legal entities who want in an extremely lucrative business model can out perform the petty dealers in a heartbeat. Let the police focus on stamping out the big boys who are too stupid to turn into legitimate entities.
Though it is distasteful to my sense of justice to say this: Offer a one time amnesty to drug cartels, allowing them to get legitimate. Let them turn in their weapons but keep their cash to pursue their field in a legal manner as consultants.
Legalize marijuana, peyote*, ayahuasca*. Do not legalize coke, crack, meth, heroin or MDMA [of course I don’t have the full schedule in front of me, but basically legalize the stuff that grows in nature, which includes chewing coca leaves but not processing it to cocaine]
*anybody that wants to vomit as part of their usage is perfectly welcome to do so, I don’t see the attraction to it.
Decriminalize Marijuana at the federal level. Let the states determine legality, enforcement and taxation within their jurisdiction.
Opioids, Cocaine and Meth should still be illegal. These are way too dangerous to be unregulated. Feds would still be responsible for interdiction across national boundaries. Provide robust treatment options for addicted individuals.
In other words–reduce demand and you will reduce supply. There will always be a supply as long as there is demand. That is capitalism at it’s finest.
I voted #4 and agree with this, except the other harder stuff should be less criminalized for small personal-use amounts - meaning that there should be mandatory rehabs and other programs instead of regular jail time.
For large amounts of the hard stuff, penalties should stay about how they are, with reduced sentence incentives to cooperate in catching the bigger fish.
I’d at least legalize marijuana. In these days of shrinking budgets, that’s a cash cow just waiting to be tapped. Tax the ever-loving shit out of weed. Smokers will pay it for the safety of getting the product without legal risk. The taxes won’t affect non-users, so it’s win-win.
Legalize marijuana and slap a federal sales tax on it. Turn the resources of the drug war on opium/heroin and cocaine and wage it hardcore-drop Agent Orange on poppy fields, send heroin and cocaine dealers to labour camps, and all that.
*"…On this earth there’s flowers, fungus, herbs and weeds to take.
If those things are illegal,
Then God made a mistake…" *
(quoted from memory, which, ahem, might be slightly less than accurate.)
I knew a kid in college who got busted for having a joint & small baggie in his pocket and spent a little time in jail. Nice kid, really - just liked to smoke a bit. When he got out soon after, he had already fallen in with a hard-core crowd that was into meth and computer piracy. Didn’t see him after that. Saddest thing.
I went for no. 4; “you idiot you forgot…” Not that I think the OP is an idiot:) but there should have been a middle-course option for legalizing certain “soft” drugs while still leaving a means for dealing with the most harmful ones. Certainly I think marijuana should be legalized, and taxed. Probably a few others as well. Cocaine, heroin, meth, are severely damaging to individuals and society; I cannot see any justification for making them legal although I do feel that enforcement should be rehabilitative rather than punitive. LSD, Salvia dinorum, peyote and psilocybin are more problematic. They are powerful drugs and their effects (in my limited experience) can be frightening, but they do not seem to do much long-term damage.
On the subject of opium poppies, I believe it is illegal to grow them in the U.S. just as Cannabis is illegal, although they do occasionally show up in garden blends from other countries. I have never heard of any enforcement action being taken. I was once in charge of growing showcase trials for a garden seed company. One of the ornamental blends sent by a Dutch supplier was found to contain opium poppies (they turned out to be a very attractive flower). When the boss recognized them blooming in our trials, we were quickly ordered to weed them all out before they were spotted.