To the opponents of legalization that want us to prove exactly how many people will use which drugs with legalization, and to the concern trolls that suggest that we’d do better if we addressed a laundry list of specific questions, the answer is “forget it.”
If there’s anything the recent RAND report demonstrates, it’s that there’s a whole lot of uncertainty that comes with legalization. In part due to the interminable length of time that this drug war has been foisted upon us, and in part due to the ubiquitous global reach of the American drug war machine, we don’t have a modern day legalization analogue available that doesn’t suffer from the potential criticism of being insufficiently similar to our situation.
But unlike what the intellectually dishonest Rosalie Liccardo Pacula (co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center) would have you believe, neither a lack of certainty nor a lack of specificity are things to fear.
We will enter into legalization and we will learn from it. We’ll tinker and adjust. If suddenly there’s an increase in stoned driving crashes (and there won’t be), we’ll address that specifically. If there’s an overwhelming increase in pot use by 12-year-olds (and there won’t be), we’ll address that specifically. We’ll be able to operate surgically, because we’ll no longer be pulverizing the patient from operating by sledgehammer.
Despite the uncertainty, there’s a lot we do know. We live in a post-Reefer Madness world, and the same lies that once hoodwinked the people are getting harder to push. We’re not going into legalization blind. We know that our journey is relatively safe; we just don’t know exactly where it’s going.
And Beau Kilmer, Jonathan P. Caulkins, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, Robert J. MacCoun, Peter H. Reuter and all the other academics who note the lack of certainty in their calculations, should be absolutely (in private, of course, not betraying their personal biases) dancing with joy at the notion of legalized pot in California. Here, at last â€” a large human laboratory to truly test how a modern legalized cannabis system can work. And the provisions to let different localities try different options? Bonus! I am thinking that this is more incredible INPUT than even Johnny 5 could handle.
Oh, sure, California’s not perfect; what we learn there may not apply exactly to North Dakota. And results will still be a bit watered down and muddied by the steady rain of federal urinations and defecations. But there will be knowledge! And a little less uncertainty.
But isn’t first moving into this uncertainty scary?
It might be if the current system were nirvana. If our drug policy was all butterflies and daffodils, instead of death, destruction, incarceration, racism, and corruption, then sure â€” why would we want to try a different approach whose results were partially unknown?
But it’s clear to all who care to look, and who are not blinded by the golden shower of drug war cash, that we are in a world of hurt. We don’t need to tinker with prohibition. We need to burn it and then take the ashes and spread them to the far corners of the universe.
California is a first crack in the fecal faÃ§ade of prohibition. The drug warriors are desperately trying to plug that crack to avoid even a glimpse of a different approach.
Well, guess what. They’ve had decades of their failed projectile diarrhea, upon which they pathetically dab drops of perfume in an effort to prove that their shit don’t stink.
After all those years, they’ve got nothing. No evidence of a workable system. And not a leg to stand on when opposing a radically safe alternative to prohibition like regulated legalization.
Their time is finally coming to an end. We need to hasten it and reduce the damage as much as we can by speaking out and bringing the truth to the people, and letting them know that yes, there will be some uncertainties in the journey, but that the alternative â€” keeping things as they are now â€” is an unspeakably hideous path.