If you support prohibition, and claim not to be corrupt, then give us our laboratory

By Pete Guither
There are two main reasons to support prohibition.

  1. You are corrupt. You support it because you make money off it, or it gives you power or status, despite the damage it causes to society and people.
  2. You actually believe that prohibition is necessary to protect society and people.

This post isn’t for the people in #1. They shall have their own reward, and be first against the wall when the revolution comes suffer the fate of The Marketing Division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.
This is about the second category: people who think prohibition is protecting society and the people, and that legalization (in any form or scheme) would result in some amount of increased damage.
Here’s the problem with their view:
The whole thing rides on a balancing act between:

  1. An uncertain and unknowable increased amount of problem usage of a particular drug due to legalization of any sort…. and
  2. All the known damage caused by our present prohibition scheme (violence, black market profits, enormous criminal justice costs and backlog, corruption in government and law enforcement, lack of trust in police, attacks on liberty, increased dangers of drug use, lack of regulation, damage to individuals and families, etc.)

In order to make this argument, the supporters of prohibition have to claim that (a) would be of greater damage to society than (b). That’s a pretty strong claim. Especially when they have NO data to support it.
It all boils down to claims made based on “common sense” or what appears to actually be their gut instinct or bias.

Common sense tells you that legal cocaine would be used and abused as much as alcohol.

Well, no. It doesn’t. Nor does any of the data that we do have.
Of course, when we point to Portugal, or Amsterdam, we’re told that that’s not a true picture of legalization, since those countries haven’t actually fully legalized any drugs.
Exactly. Nobody has. Nobody has been allowed to do so. So there is no data to show what would actually happen in the case of legalization. At least we can point to actual data from halfway measures to bolster our case. All the prohibitionist can do is point to “common sense” that has been pulled from some nether region.
If anyone truly believes that they want what’s best for society, the path is clear. Vague claims of uncertain futures are simply not enough.
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