Why are some drugs illegal in the US of A? A comment from my other reader, gizo, got me thinking about this. As is almost always the case with me, I have no idea what the actual answer is. I have donned my tinfoil hat, however, and will now try and pierce the mystery.
The easy answer would be that those drugs that are illegal are dangerous. The prisons in the US are full of people who did bad things while under the influence of drugs. They are also full of people who were simply under the influence of drugs, and didn’t do anything more than happen into the wrong place at the wrong time. They are there because they were in possession of drugs, or maybe because they flunked a subsequent drug test. Interestingly, the drug most of the sociopaths that populate our prisons were under the influence of when they did whatever heinous thing they did was alcohol.
Does it make sense to put non-violent citizens who are guilty only of using drugs in places where there is nothing to do but become violent, use drugs, and engage in sex with others of their gender? It certainly doesn’t make much economic sense, unless you’re somehow affiliated with the criminal justice system. If drugs were legal and readily available we could cut the number of lawyers, judges, cops, and prison guards by at least half, and probably much more than that. That would mean we could do something else with all those billions of tax dollars we blow fighting a fight that’s not winnable.
Then there’s the health argument. Lots of unfortunates would die if drugs were legal. They die anyway. Substance abuse is inherently dangerous, legal or not. Deaths due to illegal drugs are a tiny fraction of those resulting directly from the effects of alcohol or cigarette smoking. If drugs were legalized, almost all the crack-heads and meth-monsters would certainly die in short order. But if crack and meth were free, they wouldn’t cause much trouble doing it. We’d have to pay for a bunch of burials the first year. After that we’d be in the black.
I suppose doing much to de-stabilize the drug based economies of South American countries would further empower Marxist like Hugo Chavez. Maybe that’s another reason the government doesn’t consider legalizing drugs. We’d put the entrepreneurial criminals out of business and strengthen the socialist at the same time. I guess that’s a bad thing. At least the cocaine king-pins are capitalist.