'I was now getting, as I have said, one dollar and fifty cents per day. I contracted for it; I earned it; it was paid to me; it was rightfully my own; yet, upon each returning Saturday night, I was compelled to deliver every cent of that money to Master Hugh. And why? Not because he earned it,—not because he had any hand in earning it,—not because I owed it to him,—nor because he possessed the slightest shadow of a right to it; but solely because he had the power to compel me to give it up. The right of the grim-visaged pirate upon the high seas is exactly the same.' -Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

The Benefits of the Legalization of Drugs

by Ethan Glover, Fri, Jan 09, 2015 - (Edited) Sat, Jan 10, 2015

Drug legalization, to me, is a simple issue. Most libertarians will start from a moral case. They’ll say it is wrong to forbid a grown adult from making his or her own decisions. Suffering his or her own consequences. I understand that you may not accept this as an answer in of itself.

After all, drugs create both physical and psychological addiction. It makes people more dependent than they care to be. People would be better off if drugs just didn’t exist. But, I could also argue that people would be better off if TV's didn't exist.

I understand that hard drugs are a different issue than televisions. What I’m saying is drugs have their uses, beyond entertainment. For some, psychotropics are a source of enlightenment. Of transcendence.

Transcendence, by the way, is a need in life. Whether you practice it through religion, meditation, yoga, or drug trips. Everyone needs to find a process.

Granted, drugs can be a dangerous shortcut to transcendence, but not in all cases. Things like DMT and mushrooms from the right seller can provide a safe experience. One with no risk of addiction.

The Dangers of the Black Market

This brings up another point. In the black market, those who want to buy drugs have no protection from bad sellers. The government is the only one allowed to enforce laws and protect people on a large scale.

When somebody buys a bad batch of drugs and flirts with death, he has no recourse. He can’t go to the police. In fact, going to the hospital means getting arrested.

If someone scams a drug seller, or if someone owes him a large debt, what can he do? Again, he can’t go to the police or any third-party arbitration. Instead, he must look to himself or other criminals for help.

This factor is what leads to violence in the drug world. It’s not that drugs make people violent. In fact, I think it’s clear that the opposite is the case. Instead, because drugs are illegal, it attracts people who can handle the black market.

When you have no law to back you up, you have to act tough. You have to be tough enough to show that no one can take advantage of you. Imagine the prison/public school culture. Where new, unproven people who look weak are likely to get beat and stolen from. Without law, public or private, things tend to go to a primitive state.

Addiction is a Health Issue, Not a Legal One

You might argue that with the legalization of drugs there will be more addiction. To some, legalizing drugs means creating a nation of stoners, crack heads, and junkies.

When Portugal decriminalized all drugs, addiction dropped by a large percentage. This may sound counter-intuitive. How does greater availability cause a drop in usage?

The answer goes back to a previous point. Addicts are able to get care, on their own terms, without the threat of facing arrest. While there are voluntary rehab centers in the United States, they don’t work.

Rehab centers charge hundreds to thousands of dollars a day. For rehabilitation that we know doesn’t work. You can’t go to your local doctor for treatment. You can’t talk to a nutritionist about drugs as you can about sugar and caffeine. Too many laws and regulations allow only these “rehabilitation centers” to handle the issue.

With full legalization, you’re opening the gates for opportunity for treatments. Legalization takes addiction out of the dark and shines a light on it head on. It allows people to seek help without fear.

The Drug War Failed

For the reasons above, drug addiction has increased under the drug war. Despite government funding increasing, the drug war has had no effect on drug usage. Drug production and usage have increased.

I doubt you would deny the failure of the drug war. Most people recognize its lack of efficiency. The objections for drugs usually come from a fear for what it would do to society. After all, alcohol and cigarettes kill hundreds of thousands of people every year. Why would you want to add to that?

I don’t. But, I know if alcohol and cigarettes were illegal, the problem would be worse. Alcohol prohibition caused the same negative effects that the drug war has. It created violence and increased consumption.

If drugs were legal, it means we can stop condemning people for use and get them help if they need it. Without any legal strings attached and without restriction. The stats speak for themselves; legalization can only help the situation.