After Prohibition: An Adult Approach to Drug Policies in the 21st Century

After Prohibition: An Adult Approach to Drug Policies in the 21st Century

After Prohibition: An Adult Approach to Drug Policies in the 21st Century

After Prohibition: An Adult Approach to Drug Policies in the 21st Century

Synopsis

More than 10 years ago, federal officials boldly claimed that they would create a drug-fee America by 1995.

Excerpt

This book contains revised versions of papers given at a conference on “Beyond Prohibition: An Adult Approach to Drug Policies in the 21st Century, ” held at the Cato Institute on October 5, 1999. The papers presented range widely over all aspects of current drug policy. The final two chapters record a debate held at the conference on whether America should legalize drugs.

Whatever your view about that issue, I believe that you cannot read this book without recognizing the social tragedy that has resulted from the attempt to prohibit people from ingesting an arbitrary list of substances designated “illegal drugs.” That list includes marijuana, for which there is no recorded case of a human death from overdose in several thousand years of use and which has important medicinal uses, but excludes alcohol, which also has important medicinal uses but for which the annual death toll in the United States alone is measured in the tens if not hundreds of thousands. Not since the collapse of the attempt to prohibit the ingestion of alcohol has our liberty been in such danger from the misnamed “war on drugs.”

How can there be a war on drugs? Can there be a war on stones, on buildings, on aspirin? Surely, wars are on living, not inanimate, objects. And this war is being waged on people. Like every war, it is being waged in wanton disregard of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”—“unalienable rights” with which we are endowed by our Creator, according to the Declaration of Independence.

As a nation, we have been destroying foreign countries because we cannot enforce our own laws. As a nation, we have been responsible for the murder of literally hundreds of thousands of people at home and abroad by fighting a war that should never have been started and can be won, if at all, only by converting the United States into a police state. The annual arrest of nearly a million and a half people suspected of a drug offense, most of them for simple possession of small quantities, is frightening evidence of how far . . .

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