War on Drugs

The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant. – John Stuart Mill

My plan to win the War on Drugs is simple: End It. The federal government launched the War on Drugs in an effort to curtail people from using illegal substances. If anything, it has had the opposite effect. Since its inception, in 1971, incarcerations increased to 2.2 million, a 500% increase in the last 40 years! 64,000 overdose deaths occurred in 2015 alone, and the drug war costs American taxpayers over $50 billion annually, while simultaneously expanding the police state in America and destroying police/community relations. It has also disproportionately affected minorities in low income communities, increasing racial tensions in America. Most tragically, the drug war has worsened the opioid crisis in America. The leading cause of drug deaths is drug prohibition.

Trump and the Republicans’ plan to crack down harder on drug offenders will only further increase incarceration rates and length of terms and drive street drug prices up further, benefiting drug dealers. That, in turn, will encourage organized crime to get more involved, just as they did during alcohol prohibition in the 1920’s. The drug war also provides law enforcement with a dubious justification when they rob people of their property through civil asset forfeitures. This costly war on drugs has also led to an increase in drug dealing on the dark web, a secret and shadowy part of the internet used for black market transactions. The reason we have a black market for drugs is because we don’t have a free market.

My plan of action is to follow the model of Portugal. In 2001, Portugal decriminalized all drugs and today overdose deaths now only account for 3 deaths per million people. Drug mortality rates are the lowest in Western Europe, and heroin use has dropped 75% since they ended their war on drugs. Ending the drug war will mean that those who wish to obtain drugs will at least know what substance they are obtaining and its level of potency, and will be less inclined to use indeterminate street drugs and synthetic substitutes

Let’s start with of marijuana. The DEA’s drug scheduling system categorizes marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance – worse than Cocaine – listing marijuana as a drug “with no currently accepted medical use.” That is a lie! Multiple studies have shown the health benefits of marijuana. I plan to remove marijuana from Schedule 1 status of the Controlled Substances Act and allow individuals the freedom to buy marijuana or grow their own. Adults should not be forced to buy expensive pharmaceuticals when they can grow their own medicine.