There are two main reasons to support prohibition.
- You are corrupt. You support it because you make money off it, or it gives you power or status, despite the damage it causes to society and people.
- You actually believe that prohibition is necessary to protect society and people.
This post isn’t for the people in #1. They shall have their own reward,
and be first against the wall when the revolution comes suffer the fate of The Marketing Division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.
This is about the second category: people who think prohibition is protecting society and the people, and that legalization (in any form or scheme) would result in some amount of increased damage.
Here’s the problem with their view:
The whole thing rides on a balancing act between:
- An uncertain and unknowable increased amount of problem usage of a particular drug due to legalization of any sort…. and
- All the known damage caused by our present prohibition scheme (violence, black market profits, enormous criminal justice costs and backlog, corruption in government and law enforcement, lack of trust in police, attacks on liberty, increased dangers of drug use, lack of regulation, damage to individuals and families, etc.)
In order to make this argument, the supporters of prohibition have to claim that (a) would be of greater damage to society than (b). That’s a pretty strong claim. Especially when they have NO data to support it.
It all boils down to claims made based on “common sense” or what appears to actually be their gut instinct or bias.
Common sense tells you that legal cocaine would be used and abused as much as alcohol.
Well, no. It doesn’t. Nor does any of the data that we do have.
Of course, when we point to Portugal, or Amsterdam, we’re told that that’s not a true picture of legalization, since those countries haven’t actually fully legalized any drugs.
Exactly. Nobody has. Nobody has been allowed to do so. So there is no data to show what would actually happen in the case of legalization. At least we can point to actual data from halfway measures to bolster our case. All the prohibitionist can do is point to “common sense” that has been pulled from some nether region.
If anyone truly believes that they want what’s best for society, the path is clear. Vague claims of uncertain futures are simply not enough.
Give us our laboratory.
“To stay experimentation in things social and economic is a grave responsibility. Denial of the right to experiment may be fraught with serious consequences to the Nation. It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system that a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.” – Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis
If you, in your support for prohibition, truly believe that you’re right, then you shouldn’t fear the laboratory, whether it’s the laboratory of a single state, or a single country.
We have given you a world-wide exclusive laboratory for decades to try prohibition. Unless you can give better proof of its efficacy, and data regarding alternatives, then you cannot in good conscience deny a laboratory for legalization.
If you do, then it seems certain that you are in category 1, not category 2.
The corrupt have plenty of good reasons to fight against a laboratory. Imagine the thought processes behind the fact that the DEA has, for decades provided full government-grown quality-controlled and tracked marijuana to a handful of patients through the Compassionate IND program, and yet, they never showed a single bit of interest in studying those patients.
The corrupt aren’t interested in science, or the data from a laboratory. All they’re interested in is preserving their structure, regardless of the cost to society.
Give us a laboratory. Start small – pass the Barney Frank/Ron Paul bill to end the federal ban on marijuana. It won’t legalize marijuana (it’s still illegal in the states), but it will allow some courageous state to step up and try it. And then we can learn.
I maintain that if you don’t support the laboratory, you are corrupt. Convince me that I’m wrong.
What if other scientific fields were handled the way we handle prohibition vs. legalization?
For almost 2,000 years, bloodletting was a medical practice performed to balance the humors in the body, and to thereby cure or prevent disease. In most cases, it was harmful to patients (although the “doctors” of the time didn’t think so), and it almost completely unused today.
Imagine bloodletting as the main medical practice today and some scientists tried to appeal for alternatives…
Scientist: We’re concerned that a lot of patients are dying and that bloodletting isn’t doing much to help them; may even be hurting them.
Barber/Doctor: Nonsense! Bloodletting is curing many people, but can’t save them all. Just imagine how many more would have died if we didn’t do bloodletting, or if we tried your “medical” techniques.
Scientist: Well, we don’t know, do we, since you won’t let us try any other medical techniques. Just let us have a laboratory, so we can see if alternatives to bloodletting can work.
Barber/Doctor: You must be high on cheese mold. Here, let me bleed you and get rid of some of those bad humors you have.