"Turning to a Market Economy"Is fighting the war on drugs important to the U.S.? Should the U.S. go after, or support, drug eradication world-wide? How far should U.S. support go?
A Federal Bureau of Prison employee whom I know personally once told me that the inmates at the federal Correctional Institution where he worked had told him that they hoped that the U.S. government will never legalize marijuana and other drugs because "this would put out of business."
The war on drugs cannot be won. So many of the arrests that are made are simply of "mules" who carry the drugs from one point to another, and are not really connected to dealers. For instance, Indians in Columbia who load planes have no idea who is selling the drugs. But, millions of tax dollars are wasted on these futile attempts of arresting them as these insignificant carriers who can provide no information are imprisoned at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars a year. If the government controlled the sale of marijuana, taxed it, kept other drugs out it, there could be some safety established and certainly some income made. Marijuana has not been proven to be addictive, and it does have medicinal benefits to people with certain conditions. If mariuana were legalized, perhaps the liquor business would be disgruntled, though.
Here is what presidential candidate Ron Paul (other US senators have voiced similar opinions) said in an interview with Larry Kudrow:
Ron Paul: Well, removing it from the jurisdiction of the federal government and allowing the states to regulate it, like they would alcohol. And this seems to be strange for a lot of people, but I’m only going back to 1937 when that’s the way it was handled. The states always did this, and I’m motivated strongly also because the states legalize it for the use of medicinal purposes and it is helpful to people who have cancer or are getting chemotherapy. So this is not a huge radical idea, it’s something that was legal for a long, long time. And the war against marijuana causes so much hardship and accomplishes nothing. So I would say that marijuana, as far as causing highway problems, is miniscule compared to alcohol, and yet we knew prohibition of alcohol was very bad. So this is just getting back to a sensible position on how we handle difficult problems. And, for me, it should be the states.
I would have to agree that the war on drugs has not been very successful. Certainly the government should enforce it's laws and we do have laws pertaining to specific drugs. The reason for these laws is to protect people. These drugs are harmful and, often, the people who do these drugs are harmful to others. Drug dealers pray on the weak and vulnerable. We should stop them and try to help those with addictions. However, I think the term war is ridiculous. Is the government proposing to go to war against its own citizens? Many of the punishments are far to strict. It shouldn't be about the punishment at all but rather about helping and protecting our citizens.
I certainly do not think the US should try to eradicate drug use world wide. For one thing, it is none of our business what laws other countries have and how they enforce them. Each culture must define what a drug is and which drugs should be illegal for their citizens. It is not for any country to decide how other countries should be run.
I'm inclined to agree that the war on drugs has not been successful. If anything, the problem seems to have grown worse -- or at least more virulently violent. It would be interesting to compare and contrast the "war on drugs" with the approaches taken by other countries.
Since many people seem to have some strong need to take drugs, maybe the best hope is in finding medical antidotes and/or medical solutions that would allow people to take drugs without becoming addicted.
The "war on drugs" has been largely ineffective, especially when you consider the amount of treasure the US government has expended on it. The solution seems obvious, we need to invest in prevention on the demand side, which would involve intensive government spending on domestic programs. Unfortunately, there has never been as much political will for this as there has attacking the supply side of the problem.
The Federal government should get out of the "War" on drugs. All laws pertaining to "illegal" drugs should be removed. Human behavoir is such that, legal or not, people will take drugs. The focus should be on education, not punishment. What addictions and difficulties arise from legalzation pale compared to the nightmare underground death industry that the illegal trade has spawned.
I have to agree with Post #2. I would say what we should do is go after demand here by trying to help people get off drugs. That way we don't get involved in trying to police other countries (as with coca eradication efforts in Colombia, for example). And we don't spend so much of our resources trying to fight trafficking and such.
I think how we answer these questions has to take into account the extent to which America is actually able to tackle the war on drugs. It is already failing to prevent drugs entering the country, so its ability to escalate that conflict and move it onto a higher level is clearly not very realistic.