Nothing better to do with tax dollars than put drug-users in prison

| October 9, 2011 | 4 Replies

I’m still stunned that President Obama has decided to crank up the federal drug war by clamping down on medical marijuana dispensaries. This has been yet another political about-face by Barack Obama. Don’t we have anything better to do with our tax dollars and energies than to throw people in prison for using a substance that makes them feel good, where that substance is far less dangerous than alcohol? And keep in mind that there are legally available pharmaceuticals that have comparable effects on one’s psyche, available only if the user is wealthy enough to afford the doctor appointment and the pharmaceutical.

But wait . . . the stories is even worse. As reported by Glenn Greenwald, there is is evidence to counter-balance the idea that currently illegal drugs are always destructive:

[T]he deceit at the heart of America’s barbaric drug policy — that these substances are such unadulterated evils that adults should be put in cages for voluntarily using them — is more glaring than ever. In light of his comments about LSD, it’s rather difficult to reconcile America’s adoration for Steve Jobs with its ongoing obsession with prosecuting and imprisoning millions of citizens (mostly poor and minorities) for doing what Jobs, Obama, George W. Bush, Michael Phelps and millions of others have done. Obviously, most of these banned substances — like alcohol, gambling, sex, junk food consumption, prescription drug use and a litany of other legal activities — can create harm to the individual and to others when abused (though America’s solution for drug users — prison — also creates rather substantial harm to the drug user and to others, including their spouses, parents and children: at least as much harm as, and usually substantially more than, the banned drugs themselves). But no rational person can doubt that these substances can also be used responsibly and constructively; just study Steve Jobs’ life if you doubt that. Jobs’ praise for his LSD use is what I kept returning to as I read about the Obama DOJ’s heinous new policy to use the full force of criminal prosecutions against medical marijuana dispensaries in California.

In the meantime, do you know how your local law enforcement officers are spending most of their time?

To make it clear: I’m not advocating drug use. I’m stating facts that make it undeniable that the “war on drugs” is much more dangerous to all of us than the use of those drugs.

There’s a drug-related arrest in the U.S. every 19 seconds. Consider, also, that 45 people are massacred in the U.S. every day thanks to our “drug war,” and that it is this “war” that causes the violence.  This is a war that has failed at every one of its announced objectives.  Many of our law enforcement officer have declared the “war on drugs” to be an immoral war.  Consider this conservative judge’s harsh words toward the “Drug War.”  The most harmful thing about marijuana, according to Judge John Gray, is jail.  Here’s why:  the “war on drugs” by the numbers.  It’s time to take a deep breath and get over America’s obsession with imprisoning otherwise law-abiding citizens for partaking of a relatively harmless drug.

What the hell is wrong with us?

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Category: Drug laws, law and order

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (4)

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  1. Mike M. says:

    Erich,

    You are closing in on one of life’s Great Secrets. Steve Jobs found out, and used his consciousness expanding experiences as a springboard to benefit mankind with leaps of great innovation and imagination. Here it is: there’s a class of illegal Schedule 1 drugs (visionary plants, aka entheogens, aka psychedelics) that expands the mind, increases intelligence, fosters empathy, sharpens perceptions and the five senses, creates a sense of awe and wonder, expands one’s definition of “reality”, enhances creativity, produces ecstasy and, most importantly, has the potential to dissolve cultural illusions and expose the absurd frauds showered on us daily by the church, the government and the media. That last benefit is the one that has governments scared, and is the real reason this class of drugs is so savagely repressed. These drugs are illegal for socio-political reasons; certainly not for health concerns, which is just a smoke-screen to hide behind. These plants and their synthesized derivatives are non-addictive, historically safe, and a threat only to the ignorant, the fearful, and the cultural dominators.

    “If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”

    “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”

    ~Thomas Jefferson

  2. Jim Razinha says:

    When judgment is impaired, then the user can very much be a threat to others if not him/herself. Now, if they lock themselves in a room and envision away…

  3. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Tommy Chong, of Cheech and Chong fame, explained that cops love to arrest pot heads simply because they are so compliant. A crack user may put up a fight, coke heads may pull out the automatic weapons, but when a cop says to a pothead, “”Come with us. You’re under arrest” the pot user will most likely say “Okay Man, Where’re we going?”.

  4. Mike M. says:

    Jim,
    You’re right, that’s why I put in that caveat about “the ignorant.” These plant tools need to be used intelligently, with great attention to set (expectations, mood, etc) and setting (immediate environment).

    “Now, if they lock themselves in a room and envision away…”
    And that’s the ideal setting…alone or with a trusted guide, and as free from outside distractions as possible.

    Also, judgment can be impaired under many circumstances: sleep deprivation, anger, alcohol intoxication, stress, prescription drugs, grief, mental illness, lust, etc, etc.
    We walk and drive amongst the “judgment impaired” on a daily basis. That’s life, it can’t be completely controlled, and the millions of laws and regulations on the books have not been able to create a bubble of total security. We need to be able to cope with uncertainty and insecurity if we want real freedom.

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