Why Legalize Drugs?

Imagine this, if you will.  One day, the government decides that something is bad for you.  Perhaps it’s free speech.  After all, it could get you decked.  It can also cause problems for society in general.  So, with all these things to consider, the government bans free speech.  Now, you have to get permission to say anything.  “Making a statement” is now illegal.

Sounds pretty far fetched, right?  After all, free speech is a Constitutionally protected right.  Well, it probably is in this instance.  Now, let’s substitution “corn” into that paragraph instead.  It still sounds silly, right?  Well, again, it is.  However, the corn analogy isn’t all that different than federal and state laws banning some drugs.

Libertarians are well known for their stance on legalizing drugs.  In fact, that’s what most people think of when they think Libertarian.  But what they don’t consider is why.  Why do these people want to legalize something as bad as drugs?  Well, you’re in luck.  Today, I’m going to tell you.

The root word of Libertarian is “Liberty”.  You know, the freedom to do as you like so long as it doesn’t harm someone else?  Well, that’s pretty much our take on drugs.  The use of drugs doesn’t hurt anyone else.  If Joe Smith lights up a joint, it doesn’t hurt me.  If Suzy Homemaker does a line of cocaine in between cleaning the sink and vacuuming the floor, it doesn’t effect me.

Now, some may be saying “yeah, but drug use leads to other crimes like robbery to pay for these drugs!”  You’re absolutely correct.  It does…in some instances.  If that happens, guess what Libertarians want to do?  Prosecute these people.  Not for the drugs, but for the robbery.  Many of us, myself included, are in favor of much tougher sentencing for these crimes than we currently have.  Isn’t this counter to what we’ve been saying?  Absolutely not.  When the drug user is just a drug user, they haven’t hurt anyone.  But once they commit robbery, or another crime with an actual victim, then they have crossed the line.  Their liberty is forfeit because they impacted the liberty of another.

If, on the other hand, we regulate it and tax it to respectable levels (taxing the stew out of it will just keep the black market alive and well), we can generate income for the state, reduce crowding of our prison systems, and allow law enforcement to focus on other crimes.

Now, I’m not deluded enough to think that the drug cartels will just go away.  The Mafia didn’t exactly disappear after Prohibition (a great example of the harms of making something illegal that doesn’t directly impact others).  But their primary cash cow will be gone.  Some may go legit, others may turn to other avenues, but their market for illicit materials will disappear.

We will never have freedom, and I mean real freedom, until we are free to make the irresponsible decisions that we are currently prevented from making.

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