We have just gone live with the first street poster in the series. This poster campaign is primarily designed to get people talking about the war on drugs and its effectiveness.
“People are going to use drugs; no self-respecting drug addict is even remotely deterred by prohibition. What prohibition achieves is an unregulated, criminal-controlled, sprawling, global mob-economy, where drug users, their families and society at large are all exposed to the worst conceivable version of this regrettably unavoidable problem.”
As a society we too often use the threat of prosecution as our preferred method of curbing undesirable behaviour; but does this actually work?
One of the main arguments against the legalisation of drugs is that it will encourage more people to take them. Where does this argument come from?
Government intervention is used to communicate what is considered desirable and undesirable; undesirable products are either made illegal or taxed heavily. Desirable products and services are often subsidised (ie: public schooling).
Tobacco is a great example. It is considered undesirable from society’s point of view due to its scientifically proven healthy ramifications. For this reason, it is heavily taxed with regular increases in the tax include in a pack of cigarettes. The Government also spends millions each year educating the public on the health risks associated with smoking.
During the 1920s Alcohol was prohibited in the United States.
There is a lot we can learn about drug prohibition by looking closely at what effect prohibition had on the consumption and sale of alcohol during this period.
Prohibition is not a deterrent, more people are using drugs than ever before even though the severity of punishment is extreme in many parts of the world.
“We could have fighting, killing over cigarettes if we made it a felony to sell a cigarette or smoke one. So we legalized it.”
- Bill Clinton, former United States President. Continue reading
How on earth could we as a society go from prohibition to legalisation? The steps we think would be involved are below.
1. Decriminalise Possession: Stop persecuting individuals for having personal quantities of drugs. This will immediately wipe out all hospitalisation/deaths from individuals taking large amounts of drugs when they see the police are present.
This step will also free up police and judicial resources to deal with serious and violent crimes like rape, murder and robbery.
“A drug is not bad. A drug is a chemical compound. The problem comes in when people who take drugs treat them like a licence to behave like an asshole.”
- Frank Zappa, Musician.
“The drug problem isn’t consumers: it’s the black market, which generates violence, human trafficking, and the highest murder rate in Latin America.”
- Felipe Calderón (Former Mexican President) Continue reading
“There are criminals who are drug users, but most addicts are criminals only by virtue of prohibition or from resorting to crime to pay inflated black market prices.”
- Danny Sugerman, Manager of The Doors
Why do so many people take illegal drugs even at the risk of prosecution? Even when they are forced to risk their health because the industry is run by gangsters?
The reason is not because they are addicted. According to the United Nations only 12% of recreational drug users are ‘problem users’.*
The reason the other 88% use drugs recreationally is because it has a positive effect on their lives. We never hear about positive drug stories; Continue reading
This retired Police Captain has some very logical arguments as to why we should legalise all drugs.
One of the main arguments people raise against ending prohibition relates to the fear that if all drugs are legal people more people will be taking them.
Marijuana is a natural plant put on this earth for a reason.
It is absolutely incredible what happens to this woman with Cerebral Palsy when she smokes Marijuana.