It’s Time To Legalize All Drugs, Not Just Marijuana

PHOTO: Aftermath of an alcohol-prohibition era mob hit in Los Angeles, circa 1933.

For the first time, the majority of Americans believe marijuana should be legal. In fact, it has not only just become a majority belief, it’s become trendy to talk about—marijuana legalization is probably the only topic that can really bridge the conservative-liberal roadblock that has defined 21st century politics thus far.

However, for all the reasons marijuana should be legal, almost all of them apply to every illicit substance classified and prohibited under the Controlled Substances Act, all drugs should be legal, all of them.

Let’s get one thing straight. Unlike marijuana, other illegal drugs are highly addictive and deadly; then again, most legal pharmaceutical drugs are too. Like marijuana, the prohibition of other illicit substances causes more damage than the substances themselves.

The same arguments used against marijuana prohibition apply to all drugs because the same legislators, government bureaus, private industries and law enforcement organizations profit off them.

Prohibition is the deadliest drug of them all. Yes, Prohibition is a drug. So many layers of society and industry shoot up Drug War cash like smack, they have literally become addicted to the money enforcing arbitrary drug laws generates. Their addiction has incentivized them to turn every American who gets their drugs off the street instead of in a pharmacy as ATMs.

All state and federal prisons are overcrowded. Civil asset seizures are estimated to be in the billions annually. Private prisons are profiting greater than ever. Violent drug crime continues to rage in the streets, not just of our inner cities, but also our suburbs. Even in small town America, buckets of taxpayer money pay for expensive military-style SWAT raids in the name of sobriety.

Because, like the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, you can never “win” if you don’t define success. If the goal of the War on Drugs is to make every American sober 100% of the time that is as impossible as getting the Bush Administration and all their cronies to admit those wars were their ATM. People like drugs, people have always used drugs and people will always use drugs.

Clearly there is a difference between use and abuse. For some people it is possible to use drugs casually, for some people it isn’t. Drug addiction is real and dangerous. For every street drug there is a pill equivalent. If you want drugs, you can get them, illegal or not. Drug addiction, however, is a medical condition, not a crime.

“Drug addiction, however, is a medical condition, not a crime.”

In a legal market, more people would survive drug abuse. If all drugs, like food tested by the FDA or tap water monitored for cleanliness and safety, were subject to some sort of oversight, even the incompetent governmental kind, street drugs would be cleaner. Consumers would have legal recourse, like with pharmaceutical companies, to sue producers for selling faulty products. In a legal market, we have the ability to regulate drugs the way we do alcohol, tobacco and in some states, marijuana. With straightforward education, not D.A.R.E., and a legal market we could take the counterculture edge off of drug use and prevent some abusers from ever using.

Hell, if all drugs were legal, maybe K2 (spice) or bath salts would never have been invented. Maybe a homeless man in Florida would still have his face.

The most dangerous thing about any illegal drug is its manufacture and distribution exists solely on the black market. Anything that exists on the black market is by its very definition unregulated and dangerous. Black markets can be faulted in almost every way for almost every American affliction: poverty, violence, a lack of quality education, crime and healthcare.

While we still haven’t legalized marijuana we are sitting on the tipping point, but it’s important to remember that prohibition never has and never will work, regardless of what is being prohibited. It’s time to push this conversation, the Drug War is not just a war on some people, it’s a war on all people.