|Drug prohibitionists are responsible for the current disaster.
Through some miracle of rhetoric, drug warriors seem to have convinced the public that they are responsible for some marvelous society where no one uses drugs because they are illegal, but that reformers are responsible for the current situation where anyone, regardless of age or income, can purchase drugs easily with no control whatsoever. And too often we let them get away with it.We have to turn this around. They are responsible. We sometimes argue that drug abuse problems aren’t as bad as you think. In some ways this may be true. A tiny percentage of Americans abuse hard drugs, but the problems created are far out of proportion to the amounts. Current policy increases drug abuse and a host of other problems. We are in a disaster area, and prohibitionists are responsible.We should sound like a broken record. They support drug anarchy. We support drug control. We should always be talking about strict regulation and contrasting it with the current complete lack of control. The framework is the same regardless of the argument:Drug Warrior: Illegal drugs cause problem X.Drug Reformer: So why do you support that problem? It’s a lot worse than you say, and you’re responsible. The solution is Y, and you’re opposed to it.All the other arguments listed below are variations on this theme.Prohibitionists sacrifice kids in order to punish adults. Kids can get drugs easily under the current system, buying them mostly from other kids. There are no regulations controlling access, only laws that ignore the reality of the market and usually make no practical distinction between children and adults. Prohibitionists are opposed to regulations that control access by kids because an effective regulatory system would allow adults controlled access to drugs. They oppose effective controls on children because they are unwilling to sacrifice their ineffective controls on adults,Prohibitionists intend to protect kids from drugs, but they have to be deliberately blind not to notice the actual results. We need to tell parents the obvious fact: The government is not going to save your kids from becoming potheads.
There are many factors that will determine whether a child will become a marijuana user, abuser, or avoider. The biggest of these is the child’s personal choice based on what he or she sees in the world. Next will be what parents teach or fail to teach. School policy will have more effect on where and when than on whether. The least important factor will be the government.
Compare the messages we send about alcohol and marijuana. The message for alcohol is: Although alcohol may have its rewards, it is too dangerous for young people. Wait until you are older to try it. But if you ignore this advice (which we assume you will at some point), drink in moderation and never drive while intoxicated.
The message for marijuana is: Marijuana is bad. The government has decided. You will never be old enough or mature enough to make up your own mind.
No wonder so many kids smoke pot. Our laws are apparently made by people who have never met a teenager in their lives. This is like telling kids they should never have sex because some people have had bad experiences with it. Any kid who actually accepts that he should defer his moral decisions to the government is doomed to a sterile life as a bureaucrat or politician.
I think a lot of parents unconsciously want to avoid dealing with the problem: Let the schools take care of it. Let the government take care of it. Drugs have replaced sex as the subject parents least want to talk to their kids about. And if parents do talk, they tend to talk at the kids rather than with them, even though in many cases the kids k