So the most effective way to reduce crime is to get rid of laws?
That's like saying "If we get rid of anti-homeless laws there will be less homeless people".
For example, if we decriminalized theft, substance abuse, domestic battery, and rape, there would be less criminals in jail, and our crime rate would be down. If no laws are being broken, how can there be crime?
Think about that first statement for a minute, because that's what decriminalizing something means. It doesn't stop it from being "wrong" or unhealthy, either personally, biologically or socially.
Arguments can be made that if we got rid of the "soft laws" (like laws against marijuana use), then there would be less crime. Then the argument is made about how alcohol causes more problems than pot, or cigarettes.
Let's take a look at that closely, because on the surface it seems very true. It is based on facts and statistics, so it has to be true. Right?
Those stats are accurate. The skew is, however, very clear when looked at from a different perspective. I'll give an example (I so do love my examples):
Cars kill more people than bicycles every year(1). From this statement, it can be inferred that cars are very dangerous things, and bicycles are not.
Cyclists are not as prevalent as cars however. According to Statistics Canada 1.3 percent of more than 15 million commuters cycle to work. That works out to 201,485 bikes on the road.
Yet comparatively, more cyclists are killed per capita than people killed in car accidents. Combining that with the statistics that helmets do nothing to reduce those deaths and you can have a very strong case that cycling should be made illegal.
At least, in the short run. You see, cars are the ones killing some of those cyclists, and also polluting our environment, thereby destroying everyone's health.
So even something as non-addictive as a car or a bike can have very polarizing results when clouded by facts and statistics. Facts are not in themselves a truth. Facts can be rearranged to create different results.
The ratio of people who smoke to people who drink to people that smoke pot is even more disparate. There is overlap in all of those groups, causing a fuzzy logic.
I disregard the counter arguments of "alcohol is...just as destructive...so why not legalize it..." This is the equivalent of a child who was told not to do something and pointed at the neighbour kid and complained "But Billy gets to!"
It doesn't make what Billy did right, or even okay. It's hypocrisy to for someone to use that argument to justify any action. The solution isn't to allow more wrong. We have all at least learned that two wrongs don't make a right.
Making things legal does not reduce their destructive effects on society(2). There has to be some line drawn, even if it is an arbitrary one. Otherwise what else do we end up permitting under the rubric of "lower crime rates"? Sometimes it's not about the statistics, or about how things "are". Sometimes it's about the direction we want to go in, how we would like life to be.
Wouldn't we all like to live in a safe, clean, substance abuse free world? Our society has flung off religious mores and claimed to get rid of that philosophical opiate, while instead smaller members of our society are offering us an actual opiate that clouds our judgement, claiming "freedom". I find it humorous; fifty yeas ago people were frothing at the mouth because the government was adding fluoride to the water, a substance that makes people more docile and keeps teeth white. Now society wants the government to legalize a substance that makes people more docile and results in poor hygiene. Both substances demote critical thinking, but one will somehow "free" me and the other will enslave me.
Something about that isn't stirring the kool-aid.
"Once upon a time there was a large pond that became stagnant and poisoned for no apparent reason. It used to be the most beautiful pond in the public park and everyone loved its gentle beauty. Many flowers and trees surrounded it. The geese and ducks would raise their chicks there while sharing the place with all sorts of birds and fishes. Parents would bring the children to visit the pond and spent hours enjoying the smells, the sounds and the scenery. No one knew what really happened, but in a few months, the waters turned dark, putrid and the life of the pond gradually disappeared. All the fish died and the birds left. The authorities in charge of the park were very confused, not knowing what to do and decided to ask for help from a couple of experts. After studying the situation thoroughly, the first expert said: "if we manage to bring the fresh clean water from the nearby spring, in a few months we'll have the waters renovated and the life will come back to the pond. That's my advice". The other expert thought for a moment and shaking his head said: "I don't think that will solve this situation. We don't know the cause of the problem here. We may have contamination coming from different sources; dark waters, chemicals, you name it. What's killed the life of the pond once will continue doing it if we don't stop the cause. I suggest investigating the water composition to find out what is causing the pollution. After that we'll need to empty out the pond, fix the source of toxicity and then refill it with clean, fresh water. It may take more time and work but it might take care of the problem once and for all. That is my advice".
After extensive fact finding and observation it was discovered that the source of the problem stemmed from a small stream that fed the pond. It had become so choked with weeds that fresh water could not flow into the pond, causing stagnation.
"Who is responsible for this? The weeds weren't always here. At one time they were kept at bay. What happened?"
Eventually one person spoke up.
"It is my job to employ the caretakers of this park. They mow the grass and pick up the garbage. One man's job was to clear out the weeds from the stream every day. The pond was clean and pure, so I argued that weeds will always grow, and the war on weeds will never end, so it's failure to keep weeding. We'll just use herbicide, and let whatever weeds are there grow. So I fired the caretaker."
This is why the "failed" war on drugs should not stop. Drugs are not dangerous because they are illegal; they are illegal because they are dangerous. Legalization and decriminalization-policies certain to increase drug availability and use among our children-hardly qualify as public health approaches.
All terrorist organizations need to raise funds to sustain their violent activities and resort to illegal means to finance their illegal acts. Drug trafficking comes at the top of this list of illegal money raising activities, followed by robbery, extortion, kidnapping, blackmailing and arms smuggling.
In recent years it has become increasingly evident that terrorism and drug trafficking are intertwined. The terms "narco-terrorism" and "narco-terrorists" have started being used to describe this interface between terrorist organizations and narcotics smugglers. This fact is illustrated by certain international documents. For instance, the UN Convention Against Illicit Traffic In Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988) recognizes the links between illicit drug traffic and other organized criminal activities which undermine the stability, security and legitimacy of sovereign states.
The 1993 INCB report draws attention to the organic connections between drug cartels and terrorist organizations, and also to the globalization of drug smuggling. The successive INBC reports point out that these drug cartels concentrate their activities in ethnically and economically troubled regions of the world. It is no coincidence that terrorist organizations thrive in the very same regions.
By allowing the decriminalization of something as "harmless" as marijuana, essentially you are not promoting peace, you are putting guns and bombs in the hands of terrorists. By actually legalizing it, you make it easier for drug sellers to increase their revenue base. By taxing pot and creating laws for it's domestic protection (no outside importation, like black market cigarettes) you drive the consumer to seek cheaper alternatives, such as illegal purchasing, further lining gun runners pockets. By allowing pot to be farmed legally and locally it does not stop someone from taking the profits and giving it to others to buy guns.
Laws for black market cigarettes haven't stopped the black market, why would putting laws for pot be any different?
Even buying B.C. bud (which could "bring in billions" according to activists), doesn't mean it's going to be filtered into the local economy. Where are those billions actually going to go? I doubt it's to buy new computers for the local school, and instead buy a Humvee for either the producer or the politicians.
The only argument I have stumbled across that could lead to me thinking legalization was a good idea was this quote by an anonymous grower:
Meanwhile back in his basement, Jack says he actually misses the days when operations like his were illegal because lately so much so-called "legal weed" has spilled onto the street it's driven down prices.
He used to get almost $3,000 a pound for his bud when he was growing illegally. Now it's $1,700 pound and falling. Sometimes there's so much medical marijuana out there he says some growers can't unload their product.
"It's going down the tubes because of all these licences. Three years ago you couldn't have enough of this. Now I know people who have ten pounds from their last crop because they couldn't sell it. "
So maybe we should legalize it and then do what the Japanese business companies have done known as "dumping". Make a product so value-less that it puts your competitor out of business. Then when they have shut down, monopolize and prevent anyone from producing the product.
(1)Cycling and Cars:
(2) Drug use: