I heard a statistic recently that caused me to pause. Over the past few years, 40,000 people have been killed in Mexico in drug wars. Another number, $40 billion a year, the amount of drug trafficked into the United States, which turned into a $150 billion retail trade, is the real reason for the violence.
Violence, and much of all crime is related to mind altering substances. In many low income areas, the most successful business person is not the insurance agent, or retailer, or manufacturer, but the drug distributor.
Drugs are too available not because they are legal, but because they are illegal. They require an underground distribution network with a pusher, somebody who is in contact with you, enticing you with a free hit of whatever it is they are selling. They aren’t regulated or taxed, but act as free agents interloping between darkness and light.
It’s time we looked at drugs as something other than narcotics. We need to look at them as an economic business model. We need to find out how to make that model unattractive. We need to suck the cash out of the drug business.
We have the perfect historical model. When we made booze illegal, we invented an entire illegal industry that claimed lives and created unchecked crime. When Prohibition was lifted, those criminals moved to something else, including drugs.
For those who want to make the puritanical argument that drugs are bad, you are correct. But, so are polyunsaturated fat, salt, and cigarettes.
Make drugs legal and tax them so we can pay for the rehabilitation of those who use them. Put the light of day on the problem to help those who need help to get the care they require without fear of retribution or incarceration.
There are too many casualties for us to ignore. It’s time.