A decade or so ago, it could be argued that the evidence was not yet in on drugs. No one has ever believed illegal drug use could be eliminated, but there was a defensible view that prohibition could prevent more harm than it caused. Drug use is not a private act without consequences for others; even when legal, it incurs medical and other costs to society. A society that adopted an attitude of laissez-faire towards the drug habits of its citizens could find itself with higher numbers of users. There could be a risk of social abandonment, with those in poor communities being left to their fates.
These dangers have not disappeared, but the fact is that the costs of drug prohibition now far outweigh any possible benefits the policy may bring. It is time for a radical shift in policy. Full-scale legalisation, with the state intervening chiefly to regulate quality and provide education on the risks of drug use and care for those who have problems with the drugs they use, should now shape the agenda of drug law reform.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
"The case for legalising all drugs is unanswerable"
This is the first thing I read today and is probably the best thing I will read today. The title is a challenge. Those who want to keep on with prohibition should state their case as clearly and succinctly. But has anyone ever read such a treatise? Does one exist? It seems to me that prohibition continues largely because changing deep-seated but irrational convictions is just too hard.