In my last article (short titled) Dis-Squirrel!-tractions, I posted that legalizing drugs would not cut back on gun violence.
The reactions I received in the comments to my article were varied, but the most noteworthy are getting a more detailed answer below.
Let me preface my responses with a reminder: Money is the motivator behind almost all illegal drug sales. Legalizing drugs will not cut back on gun violence because where money is concerned we all know that people use guns to get money. Bank, business and street robberies have been legendary in the use of guns to get money.
Drugs and guns go together not because drugs are illegal, but because of the money that is needed to buy drugs, which will not be lower cost if legalized unless subsidized by American taxpayer dollars (Is that what you want?). Drugs and guns go together not because drugs are too expensive but because people want them enough to do whatever it takes to get them. Will that be stopped if made legal? Or, contrarily, will it increase as the number of drug users increases with legalization?
Drugs and guns go together not because drugs are illegal but because selling them means a lot of money coming in and the drug dealers want to keep that money, thus there are “turf wars”. Will that stop because of legalization, or will doctors and nurses manning the legalized “clinics” that sell legally prescribed drugs be killed by those trying to maintain their territories? (BTW, good luck finding a doctor, nurse, or other medical personnel to man those clinics after the first two or three murders by street thugs trying to keep their income stream!)
Now to answer more thoroughly a few of the comments on my last article:
“Why is it so hard to understand that the Drug War has only managed to produce a vicious police state, one in which the cops are as much or more of a threat than the drug dealers? Why is it so hard to see how truly innocent people are being victimized (to death, even, see the Donald Scott raid for a chilling example)? I can only hope that ‘1-4 Freedom’ has a bunch of thugs with badges kick in his front door at 4AM and ruin his life, perhaps for no better reason than an inability to read an address, or a ‘sworn’ informant who wants to settle some sort of score with ‘1-4′”
The Scott case was a problem of training the cops in getting more evidence prior to any sort of raid, not a problem of drug use. The cops were trying to make what they allegedly thought was a legitimate drug raid and Mr. Scott came out of the bedroom with a gun. The fact that he didn’t know it was cops who were in the house and who his wife was screaming at is a sad factor in his death. However, when a cop sees a gun pointed at him, the cop fires. That gun was the deciding factor in the shooting of Mr. Scott, not drugs being illegal.
Steve Thomas commented:
“Additionally, you cannot legislate morality. Drug use is a moral issue…just like alchol. Moral issues should be left to the churches.
“Legalizing marijuiana would effectivly DEFUND the Mexican drug cartels by 60 percent. Money IS power. Take away their power and they are less of a problem.”
Murder, sexual activity with a minor and stealing are all moral issues, and we legislate those. Since when is morality not legislated?
Vince said in response to another comment,
“You claim that legalizing drugs will do no good, you obviously have not thought this through. By your logic on the subject, you think it would be a bad thing to have all these illegal drugs regulated. You would rather have the drug cartels controlling it, and have the street gangs distribute it, ALL UNTAXED.”
To which I must respond that they are already legislated: You’re not supposed to use them. Taxing drugs will bring in more revenue to the state only if those dealers who are dealing now will agree to stop selling drugs so that the “legal clinics” will be able to take over their turf and sell drugs there instead of the current dealers. How easy will that be? How many drug kingpins have been brought down only to have someone else slide right into his place and keep that drug flow going into his old area? Does anyone really believe that drug dealers give up their cash flow that easily? (Reality check sorely needed if so.)
“By the way, one of your articles Cites the legalization as being Prescription based somewhere, naturally that creates it’s own set of issues. Legalization should be treated like Alcohol and somewhat like Tobacco as far as growing your own, at least for something like Marijuana. You eliminate the black market in that way and any benefit criminals would have should one even be considered.”
To which I say that marijuana being legalized would not be as simple as that. Eliminating the black market (see my responses above) is not as simple as a government take over. Lives will be lost. Also, marijuana is a drug; a “gateway drug” according to some because it has some of the same effects as harder drugs. “Pediatrics: The Official Journal of The American Pediatrics Society” (Vol. 113 No. 6 June 1, 2004 pp. e632 -e638) states:
“Scientists have demonstrated that the emotional stress caused by withdrawal from marijuana is linked to corticotropin-releasing factor, the same brain chemical that has been linked to anxiety and stress during opiate, alcohol, and cocaine withdrawal.8 Others report that tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana, stimulates release of dopamine in the mesolimbic area of the brain, the same neurochemical process that reinforces dependence on other addictive drugs.”
“Furthermore, data concerning adolescents’ use of the 2 drugs that are legal for adults (alcohol and tobacco) suggest strongly that legalization of marijuana would have a negative effect on youth. Alcohol and tobacco are the drugs most widely abused by adolescents, although their sale to adolescents (younger than 18 years for tobacco and younger than 21 years for alcohol) is illegal. Research demonstrates that manufacturers of alcohol and tobacco market their products to young people, and the recent Supreme Court decision and experience with the Synar Amendment suggest that, if marijuana were legalized, restrictions on the sale and advertising of the substance to young people would prove daunting. Finally, two in-depth reviews of medical marijuana conclude that future research should focus on the medical use of cannabinoids, not smoked marijuana.”
Drugs are big business. A 2005 United Nations report put the drug trade in the $321 BILLION figure worldwide. How much of that is happening in the United States of America? A 1986 “President’s Commission on Organized Crime” report stated that in America, the illicit drug business was as high as $110 BILLION. That’s 1986 numbers, do you think the amount of drugs and drug money has increased or decreased since then? A report from 2011 states that in North America (Canada included) the money brought in by illegal drug dealers was $35 BILLION in cocaine alone.
One last response to a comment:
“I’m not sure how the argument is specious – you must explain the merits, morality and constitutionality of criminalizing behavior before an actual crime is committed (that is the crux of your argument).”
See my response above to “you can’t legislate morality”. Also, we criminalize in our U.S. Constitution several actions that are defined as “treason” (Article 3 Section 3):
“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”
Were our Founding Fathers wrong in doing so?