10/30/2003

Today's news is that the British MPs have voted to downgrade Marijuana to a less illegal drug, no longer an arrestable offense.

To me (and most sane people I know), this is welcome news. The war on drugs is an illegitimate, moralistic, costly affair that helps nobody and hurts many. If you really want to stop harmful drug use, legalize and control it - people who do enough of it to endanger themselves (or who EVER endanger anyone else by their drug use) are then out in the open and thus can be helped (or imprisoned) as appropriate. Total drug prohibition is like preaching abstinance over condoms in Africa - it doesn't work, and millions of people have their lives ruined as a result.

At the very least, drug use (on its own) should not be a criminal offense - our jails are full of non-violent drug offenders, and that just plain sucks. The history of marijuana criminalization, in particular, is rife with racism (black people mostly smoked it) and economic cronyism (timber companies didn't like that you could make a lot more paper a lot cheaper from hemp). Maybe that's still with us, or maybe it's just momentum, but I can't think of any modern reason why it is criminal to have and use this plant. Drug use (when it doesn't endanger anyone) is a personal choice, just like religion and diet and body modification and whatall else.

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