Sunday, December 16, 2012

Prohibition is profitable

I have been writing this in my mind bit by bit for years now. It has become very evident to me that based on the ¨war on drugs¨, increasing excise and VAT taxes on drugs, alcohol and tobacco... and the increasing incidences of money laundering...PROHIBITION IS PROFITABLE!

It is obviously difficult to prove any large system of collusion or clandestine collaboration behind modern day prohibition, yet it is hard NOT to think that so many of our institutions are in cahoots in the continued proliferation of programs designed to make drinking, drug use and smoking illegal or hyper controlled.

It is a given that my Libertarian life philosophy (not political as you might note) runs against the grain of today's commonly accepted practices of religious and state sponsored programming that condemns or vilifies the huge populations in our societies that choose to drink, smoke or use recreational drugs. I am in no way suggesting that it is preferable to use or abuse any substances so readily available in natures world. Yet, I think it prudent for us to admit that for THOUSANDS of years, mankind has enjoyed and been fascinated by the in-gestation of various substances that might bring momentary physiological and/or psychological changes to our existence that sometimes produces pleasant affects for the living. It is also my observation that many millions of the world`s inhabitants use such substances for pleasure or for social enhancement without totally obliterating the rest of their daily pursuits. Those of us who appreciate freedom and individual pursuit of happiness should support every human`s right to make their own choices on consumption of substances as long as they are not impinging on the rights of another human NOT to consume or have their life affected by those that do so.

The COST of the drug war on humanity is greater and more devastating than any of the costly wars being fought in Syria, Afghanistan and various Arab states. Here are a few stats to mull over on the COSTS of the ill advised "drug war". Just a few to highlight are:

Amount spent annually in the U.S. on the war on drugs: More than $51,000,000,000
Number of people arrested in 2011 in the U.S. on nonviolent drug charges: 1.53 million
In 2007, the cost of illicit drug use totaled more than $193 billion. Direct and indirect costs attributable to illicit drug use are estimated in three principal areas: crime, health, and productivity.
Crime includes three components: criminal justice system costs ($56,373,254,000), crime victim costs ($1,455,555,000), and other crime costs ($3,547,885,000). These subtotal $61,376,694,000.
Health includes five components: specialty treatment costs ($3,723,338,000), hospital and emergency department costs for non-homicide cases ($5,684,248,000), hospital and emergency department costs for homicide cases ($12,938,000), insurance administration costs ($544,000), and other health costs ($1,995,164,000). These subtotal $11,416,232,000.
Productivity includes seven components: labor participation costs ($49,237,777,000), specialty treatment costs for services provided at the state level ($2,828,207,000), specialty treatment costs for services provided at the federal level ($44,830,000), hospitalization costs ($287,260,000), incarceration costs ($48,121,949,000), premature mortality costs (nonhomicide: $16,005,008,000), and premature mortality costs (homicide: $3,778,973,000). These subtotal $120,304,004,000.
Taken together, these costs total $193,096,930,000, with the majority share attributable to lost productivity.
These costs above don't begin to touch the cost of destroyed lives who because of criminalization and felony convictions cannot get an education, job or find acceptance in society.  If you run the millions of incarcerated numbers above by the amount of welfare they must rely on upon reentering society...I'm sure those numbers would be staggering. I'm still looking for valid data on that front.

So...WHO profits from all these trillions spent or lost to the "drug war"...and why might they have selfish interests to maintain the devastating status quo? Well, lets see...lawyers and court systems gaining over $61 Billions per year in spoils of the "war".  Healthcare industry gaining over $11 Billion. And how about the $51 Billion that flow through the federal government coffers to "fight the war".  Where is this money going?  Who profits from that?  If you think about it clearly for just a couple should understand why the institutions of the USA are so anxious to promote this war and pass more and more laws.

While I will not take space here to count the various cases in the world, please accept the fact that various governments and militaries of the world have been in COLLUSION with the illegal trafficking of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other "illicit" drugs. Do you think these government and military entities want to go without the budgets and profits that this "war" brings in?  Sure, billions are confiscated each year in various global locations in the "fight", but where do those billions go?  Do they burn up the cash, homes, cars, jewelry, bank accounts and other valuables confiscated from the illegal traders?  Of course not!  They go into various government coffers to "continue the good fight".

The "drug war" of today is the biggest "smoke and mirrors" issue in global politics.  There is no justice in the current laws and prohibitions! All we have done is take money OUT of the hands of users and sellers...and put them in institutional coffers world produce more guns and arms to control the world with...or continue lining the pockets of drug lords and cartels. There is no justice in these statistics produced by former President Jimmy Carter who while being a socially conservative religious leader has spoken out against the fallacy of "drug wars"...
  • The Global Commission on Drug Policy reported that between 1998 and 2008, global use of opiates increased 34.5 percent, cocaine 27 percent, and cannabis 8.5 percent.
  • Carter said when he left the presidential office in 1980, 500,000 people were incarcerated in America.  At the end of 2009, the number jumped to 2.3 million.  If the number of people on probation and parole are included, the figure totals 7.2 million people, or more than 3 percent of all US adults.
  • In 2011, 50.8 percent of Federal inmates are incarcerated for drug offenses.  This compares to just 4.2 percent for robbery, 2.7 percent for homicide/assault/kidnapping, and 4.7 percent for sex offenses.
  • Since the mid-1990s, violent crimes (murder, rape and sexual assault, robbery, and assault) and burglary have steadily declined.  What has skyrocketed is arrests for drug offenses.
While I am sure there are many justifications projected behind this institutional "war on drugs" that I am not aware of or even imagined yet...I don't need more proof or statistics than we have already stated to assure me that prohibition and drug wars are hurting the masses to the benefit of the institutions that manipulate them.  As former President Carter himself concluded and I agree with...
1. Decriminalize the possession of less than one ounce of marijuana and add a full program to treat addicts.
2. Remove mandatory minimum sentencing and “three strikes you’re out” laws.
3. Don’t rely on controlling drug imports from foreign countries.  It doesn't work and is responsible for “a terrible escalation in drug-related violence, corruption and gross violations of human rights in a growing number of Latin American countries.”
4.  Experiment with legal regulation of drugs and thus take away the power of organized crime.
The 18 states in the USA who have legalized medical uses of Marijuana are starting in the right direction on this topic. It is time to take this issue out of the control of federal governments and organized crime.  This dance is only benefiting a huge cost to the majority masses who either enjoy recreational drug use or don't really care about the issue.  Lets stop funding this unconstitutional and costly "war" that only organized crime and institutional governments are profiting from. This war can only be won by educating the masses, bringing values back to the home and family, giving people more productive things to do with their time and money than using drugs (such as perhaps a good job on the line making these substances?), and not victimizing or criminalizing users in the privacy of their own homes.  By decriminalizing drug use, we will bring millions of currently disenfranchised citizens back to more productive and inclusive citizenship. By decriminalizing drug use, we will have much more money for productive activities such as education, counseling, treatment centers instead of prisons...and just a basic advanced humanitarian approach to helping and supporting those who are addicts.

These decades of criminalization have not worked.  Let give peace and tolerance a chance to sort out this issue in our society.  Organized crime and Big Brother have had long enough to profit from the "war". Lets now take them out of the game and let markets and regulation of product quality and production determine the price and distribution of these substances.

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