MISGUIDED “JUSTICE” MEMO MOVES AMERICA BACKWARDS …
From its inception this website has been an unwavering opponent of the federal government’s failed “War on Drugs.”
First, it’s wrong.
Second, it doesn’t work.
Third, it’s hamstringing our economy.
Government efforts to outlaw certain types of recreational drugs have drained taxpayers of more than $1.3 trillion since the administration of Richard Nixon instituted this “New Prohibition” in the early 1970s. Yet this massive infusion of resources has failed to curb either supply or demand.
Nonetheless, another $50-60 billion in public money will be spent this year … despite the demonstrable failure of such appropriations to produce the results policymakers have promised.
“Vast expenditures on criminalization and repressive measures directed at producers, traffickers and consumers of illegal drugs have clearly failed to effectively curtail supply or consumption,” a 2011 report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy noted.
Meanwhile, the War on Drugs has created a new class of violent criminals on the one hand – while criminalizing behavior that ought to be perfectly legal on the other. It’s also snuffed out a potentially lucrative new marketplace at a time when our country’s economy could desperately use additional jobs and income.
It’s time – frankly past time – our nation adopted some common sense in its approach to this issue. In our view, U.S. drug policy should be guided by the following four core principles …
1 FREEDOM … Americans should have the right to consume whatever recreational drugs they wish within the privacy of their own homes or businesses – or the homes and businesses of other consenting adults. As long as their enjoyment of this liberty doesn’t impose upon the liberties of others (i.e. injurious negligence, child neglect, driving while impaired, etc.), then it should be none of the government’s business what substances they consume behind closed doors.
2. FREE MARKETS … Americans should have the right to produce and sell whatever recreational drugs they wish within their own homes – or under the auspices of a business enterprise. Again, as long as this engagement of the marketplace doesn’t impose upon the liberties of others – it should be none of the government’s business.
3. SMALL GOVERNMENT … In the interest of public health and safety, government should have the right to regulate and tax the recreational drug industry in a fair, consistent and transparent manner – using whatever proceeds it derives from the industry toward the funding of core government functions.
4. LOCAL CONTROL … Local governments – i.e. municipalities and counties – should retain the right to limit or even outlaw the public consumption of recreational drugs within their communities. While we don’t believe local leaders should be allowed to dictate what citizens grow or consume on private property, it should be up to local leaders to determine the extent to which recreational drug use is permitted in public in their communities.
Unfortunately, these common sense principles are not guiding the decisions of our policymakers. Just this week, U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions appeared to take a major step in the opposite direction – sending a memo to all U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors instructing them to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense … those that carry the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimum sentences.”
Here is Sessions’ memo …
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Sessions claimed this policy shift was not directed toward low-level drug users – but rather violent drug traffickers.
Our argument to that? Why preserve a system that keeps violent drug traffickers in business in the first place?
Last month, the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C. released a new report entitled “Four Decades and Counting: The Continued Failure of the War on Drugs.” Written by analysts Christopher J. Coyne and Abigail R. Hall, this report meticulously documents the extent to which America’s current approach has been disastrous on all fronts – and how “changes at the state level” as well as “critical shifts in U.S. federal policies, both domestically and internationally” are needed.
Wait … internationally?
Yup … American taxpayers are subsidizing anti-drug efforts all over the world, efforts that are failing every bit as spectacularly as government’s domestic jihad.
“The U.S. War on Drugs, like the ill-fated war on alcohol of the early 20th century, is a prime example of disastrous policy, naked self-interest, and repeated ignorance on the part of elected officials and other policymakers,” Coyne and Hall concluded. “From its inception, the drug war has repeatedly led to waste, fraud, corruption, violence, and death. With many states moving toward legalization or decriminalization of some substances, and other nations moving to legalize drugs altogether, rethinking America’s drug policy is long overdue.”
Indeed it is …
Supporters of recreational drug use were hopeful that U.S. president Donald Trump would move our country away from the failed policies of the past – and to Trump’s credit his administration has embraced medical marijuana as a legitimate treatment option for millions of Americans suffering from a variety of ailments.
That’s a good first step. The legalization of medical cannabis (as we have repeatedly stated) policy debate – it is a moral imperative. We have consistently supported it, and we hope lawmakers in our home state of South Carolina will continue advancing compassionate legislation aimed at legalizing it in the Palmetto State.
Unfortunately, Trump’s White House spokesman Sean Spicer has spoken with stunning ignorance about the origins of American’s ongoing opioid epidemic – while Sessions’ DOJ memo strikes us as yet another example of the extent to which some “law and order conservatives” continue to tragically misread this situation.
Cracking down on drug dealers isn’t the answer. The answer is upending their apple cart by ending four decades of failed prohibition and providing for a regulated recreational drug marketplace.
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