Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The War on Drugs is Insane


There was a recent story involving a young man who could be sentenced to 99 years in prison for selling pot brownies.  Unfortunately, that is not a misprint.  A 19-year old Texas man is facing what is essentially a life sentence.

When the police entered his apartment, they found a pound of marijuana, a pound and a half of brownies and 145 grams of hash oil.  There is now an argument over the weight of the ingredients, as the police are counting the total weight of the brownies as part of the illegal substances.

It really shouldn’t matter whether you count the entire weight of the brownies because a potential sentence of life in prison for selling marijuana is absolutely insane.  I guess the guy might have been better off legally if he had committed rape or murder.

The good news is that there are many people who are protesting the charges against him and they are petitioning for reduced charges.

This is another episode where bad government laws are taken to the extreme.  It shows the absurdity of the laws in the first place that it would even be possible to get sentenced to life in prison for what is essentially a victimless crime.

While I believe the whole war on drugs is crazy, this is especially painful to see because marijuana is virtually harmless.  We are not talking about crack-cocaine here.  Marijuana is a relatively harmless drug.  Alcohol and cigarettes are far more dangerous (not that I am advocating to make those things illegal).

Do You Own Your Body?

We really have to return to the question of who owns your body.  Do you own your body or does the state own your body?  Based on these absurd laws, apparently the state believes it owns your body.

It does not matter if you think marijuana is really bad for you.  It doesn’t matter if you think that marijuana will result in less productivity or a bad attitude.  You do not have to use it any more than you have to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes.

The point is that we don’t live in a free society when you cannot choose what to ingest in your own body.

This case is even more ironic now when you think that someone could go to Colorado and do this type of thing legally.  If you commit a violent crime in any state in the U.S., you will likely get treated about the same wherever you are.  There are certainly variations with states in terms of the death penalty and mandatory sentencing, but you will generally see some consistency.

With marijuana, we are now in a position where it is perfectly legal in one state and you can face major prison time in another.  I believe we will see a narrowing in this disconnect.

Fortunately, I see more marijuana legalization in other states in the future.  I think this is a good first step in gaining at least a little rationality.

Even for drugs that are harmful, I see no benefit in locking people up, even if they are hurting themselves.  If someone commits violence because of a drug problem, then that person would be held responsible for the violent crime.  There are laws to deal with that without needing the drug laws.

Ironically, drug prohibition causes violent crime to skyrocket.  Instead of buying drugs in a drug store, there are shootouts in back alleys.  It was the same thing during the period of alcohol prohibition almost a century ago.  When alcohol was legalized again, violent crime went way down.

We should strive to live in a more peaceful society.  Sentencing a guy to a long prison term for selling pot brownies has no benefits for anyone, other than the drug warriors working for the state.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

The drug war is also responsible for an increase in overdose deaths, the spread of blood borne disease, prison overcrowding, gutting the 4th Amendment, loss of financial privacy, etc. And it has failed to reduce recreational drug use - its stated goal.

I think it is also important to note that the drug war began, in large part, as a response to increased drug use by returning Vietnam veterans. Another unintended consequence of a stupid foreign intervention.