Monday, March 23, 2009

A Wilmington Grandfather Bottom Lines the Drug War

I am never surprised that consistent polling data demonstrates some of the largest support for ending prohibition, especially of cannabis, resides in senior citizens, up to the 70+% range in some age categories. Having lived through the last half century as adults, they know the real deal, and possess wisdom from which we can always learn.

They have watched for decades how the hysterical drum-beating of the prohibitionists is completely divorced from the reality of actual drug usage across the vast population. Our more senior citizens can see how absurd is prohibitionist hyperbole and fear-mongering, roughly equivalent to peddling the premise that every person who drinks is a dangerous alcoholic drunk-driving wife-beating predator needing long-term incarceration, or similarly ridiculous propaganda.

Wilmington grandfather, Jim Chaikin, weighs in with some common sense in a letter to the editor of the News-Journal :

It’s about time the U.S. legalized certain drugs

My grandchildren often say to me, “Grandpop, guess what?” and then proceed to bring me up to date on one thing or another.

Well folks, guess what? Drugs are going to be legalized, and soon.

It will happen like this: The out-of-control drug war is killing the tourism business in Mexico. That will hurt Mexico where it hurts – in the pocketbook. The president of Mexico will say “enough – time to legalize drugs, get rid of the thugs and make Mexico a nice, safe place to visit again” and we will follow suit.

It’s about time.

Jim Chaikin, Wilmington


Anonymous said...

Its time to legalize marijuana! I saw a study citing the actual growing of marijuana would help with repair of the ozone layer. These drug wars are costing trillions, do not work and should be abolished!

Another way to keep people in the revolving prison industrial complex.

Crack cocaine, heroin, and other killer drugs are a different story. We need to pass the Delaware Crime and Rehabilation
Act, Senator Margaret Rose Henry will be sponsoring this legislative session. Put drug addicts into treatment programs not jail.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how many years of failure have to pass before we really do change our criminalization of drugs policy! Maybe, with the serious drug wars right now in Mexico, and with the high cost of incarceration in the "prison industrial comples", maybe now is the time for change to actually happen.

The demand side fueling the mexican drug wars is right here in our country. It is our responsibility to address this problem differently, yes, with decriminalization and with treatment programs.

Perry Hood

Anonymous said...

I hope all the local reefer is not coming from Mexico....Mexican Dirt weed is the worst.

I thought that weed was California's #1 cash crop and from the color of the bud I see it looks more like 'home grown' (greenish) than that old brown dirt weed. Not to mention you can't get high on the sh*t.

Oh, for a little Jamaican, Columbian, Hawiian.........

Mat Marshall said...

Wrote a research paper on this. I have no problem with penalizing trafficking (especially since that's where the big issues seem to come up). That said, the federal government should not be in the business of protecting people from themselves.

Tyler Nixon said...

What are "traffickers" but a boogey man version of commodities market brokers?

You can't tell people you are not protecting them from themselves when you use public resources to deny them access to substances they wish to obtain, in essence : refined agricultural products for personal use for whatever reason.

The unintended consequences of going after "trafficking" do not simply exist in a vaccum. They are reflected adversely in an exponent of ways in which responsible otherwise-law-abiding people must undertake bizarre, covert, often-illicit measures to obtain the commodity, though none involves any harm to any other person. Really, it is a system that does them harm.

The worst of these distortions, from driving a vast market underground, are the result of the risk premium that makes the whole black market tick, drives it every step of the way, and which ends on the doorstep of every end consumer.

The drug war is essentially a massive "trafficking" tax which does little or nothing to actually abate the flow, while literally empowering the most risk-taking and lawless of entrepreneurs in this market. These statutorily-created black marketeers operate by massively-inflated yet nearly-monopolistic pricing, forcing the worst of the end buyers or users to resort to real crimes, like robbery and burglary and theft, to afford the drug war tax on their product of choice. The massive profit motive eventually turns it into blood money, at some point or another.

So, Mat, there is no neat cleave between freedom of choice and the freedom of those who operate the market that makes that freedom a reality.

Calling them "traffickers" or any other loaded boogey man name does not alter that we have made the traffickers the evil they are by prohibition laws.

Otherwise they may as well be pharmaceutical salesman or grain merchants or a commodities transport service or any of the other actual functional ends they serve in this particular market.

There has to be wholesale change for reform to work. No half measures and disparate conflicted segmentation and treatment of the market's elements will produce beneficial or stable outcomes.

You can't have a free market for consumers with a criminalized market for producers/brokers and expect anything but perverse consequences, especially when it involves such easily-produced, ubiquitous and fungible commodities.