Rethinking the War on Drugs
Prohibition and legalization aren’t our only choices when it comes to drugs. Proven programs can greatly reduce the harm caused by hard-core users—and reduce our prison population, too.
WTF is up with this WordPress interface? This is like the fourth or fifth time I have tried to publish something only to find it gets stuck as a draft…
Once again, and surely not by design, the WSJ comes out with another intelligent well thought out article on a controversial subject. I have commented earlier about my opinions regarding legalizing drugs (something I favor) because I didn’t see any daylight between our current moronic (and expensive to taxpayer and citizens) war on drugs and the alternative of making everything legal. This article at least demonstrates that there is room for something in between. By acknowledging reality (as opposed to stubbornly sticking with fantasy) the author shows that selective enforcement of current laws could have a dramatic impact on the overall health and well-being of society (not that I think society’s gatekeepers will go for it, I am sure we will continue our moronic drug war efforts; all this talk is theoretical). With the highly targeted strategy of going after the offenders who have the greatest negative impact on society the payback is huge (though recreational drug use would, by necessity, go virtually unpunished; why I am sure our nanny state will never consider something like this), though drugs still remain illegal so the prospects (which I completely overlooked) of corporate marketing creating a huge pool of addicts is eliminated.
Of course, part of the problem with our current police state _is_ selective enforcement of laws, but a key difference with a policy like this and the current reality of selective enforcement is it is formalized and is happening at the direction of society. If, say, speed limit laws were such that though the sign said 55 mph you wouldn’t get a ticket until you went 66 mph or faster, then society is saying that it is OK to speed 10 mph over the speed limit. If, however, automated tickets were given out to anyone who exceeds the limit by 10 mph (and the fine included those ‘extra’ violation mph) then the selective enforcement aspect has been removed. Thus, if society says that if you are a _violent_ drug dealer or engage in sales greater than a certain amount or engaged in obtrusive behavior then the long arm of the law can focus its attention on the biggest bang for the law enforcement buck while at the same time there is no unified commercial organization that stands to benefit by producing legions of addicts to drive their quarterly corporate profits. The more I think about it the more I like it, which naturally translates to the less likely it has any chance of having a place in our idiotic society.
Society selectively enforcing laws… I wonder what other areas this might have a dramatic impact?