The drug issue seems to be a major stumbling block to many people joining the Libertarian party and the movement toward personal freedom. I will make my feeble attempt to persuade you, although better writers than me have tried. I do not take drugs, and do not advocate their use. I believe in freedom, and the responsibility that goes with it. I do not advocate legislation or public policy based on emotion.
1- Why is this a federal issue? The US Constitution is a document which creates and limits federal government powers. These powers are delegated (handed down) from the natural rights of the people. The use of this document is to keep the federal government subservient to the people and the states. The Constitution describes no crime other than treason, (which is when an agent of the government gives aid and comfort to the enemy during time of war), counterfeiting (which is making anything other than gold or silver the standard for payment of debts) and piracy. Personal/private behavior is clearly outside of these delegated powers.
This is one of those subjects that should never go above local governments. No other personal behavior is so heavily regulated by the federal government. Everything that the government goes to war on, we seem to get more of. The War on Drugs has made drugs available virtually everywhere, including inside prisons and worse yet schools. We have poisoned and defoliated the land in Columbia, and other Latin American countries in the name of the drug war. Because the Drug War makes government grow, “statists” have no interest in truly stopping the drugs.
Is any other ‘crime’ in the Constitution? Murder? Robbery? Clearly these crimes are most often local issues, why are drugs federalized?
2- When someone has a chemical dependency problem; it is bad enough that they have to live through that hell. But to make it a federal crime compounds their problems, and many are forced to a life of crime. They are afraid to seek professional help early on. They are torn from their families and sent to prison where their skills in crime are enhanced. Hence the downward spiral of drugs and crime.
3- The FDA and the Pharmaceutical companies would lose their political clout if natural substances were found to outperform their synthetic chemicals. Petrochemical companies, (pharmaceuticals and petroleum partnerships) make billions off of the addictions of regular folks. Marijuana is a plant that can be grown virtually anywhere has few side effects when compared to Ritalin, Prozac, or any of the other drugs on the government approved drug list to which law abiding citizens are addicted. I have been told that no one has ever died of an overdose of marijuana, and it is not medically addicting. Some get addicted to the euphoric feeling, but they can go without the substance for weeks without withdrawals. Dozens of people per year die of a medical overdose of water. We are incarcerating tens of thousands of our own citizens over a substance that is arguably safer than many legal drugs.
4- If a crime is committed then punishment should follow a conviction of the crime. Regardless of the chemical content of the perpetrators blood, or the tools used, the punishment should be for the crime committed. What is a Crime? A crime is an unlawful act by an individual which financially or physically harms another person.
The drug war makes criminals more dangerous and increases the size and intrusiveness of government. Let me say it a different way, The federal government’s war on drugs is against the law (Constitution), the war on drugs grows tyrants in Washington DC, Federalizes our local police and professionalizes the criminals. I would rather have an individual with a chemical dependency problem seeking professional help than a police state where all are suspect and all are punished for the sins of a few. Wouldn’t you?